Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Kosher >
Dec 6, 2013 06:45 AM

Cholent Question

I plan on throwing some spicy salami (a&h cervlat) into the mix. The salami is partially dried. I always brown the meat (short ribs), which I intend to do this week as well. Should I brown the salami? And I feel obligated to fry something in that salami oil. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could brown the salami, but it would probably be great thrown in as is too.

    You could use salami oil for the chulent itself (in case more moisture and/or flavor are needed) or use it for scrambled eggs, in salad dressing, over asparagus, and so on.

    4 Replies
    1. re: magic

      My thought would be to brown the salami, then brown the meat and onions/shallot/garlic in salami rendering. My fears are: (a) cervlat spices will be too powerful and take over the whole chulent, and (b) having an instant heart attack.

      1. re: abu applesauce

        If you're concerned about the cervelat, then just use a little less. Regarding the heart attack, probably too late after you decided to make cholent :)

        You could also try grilling the salami and ribs, but it's a little wet out there

        1. re: abu applesauce

          Then yeah, perhaps reserve the oil for another use if you're concerned about fat. But then again, you have to add some fat to brown the shortrib, so might as well use the salami oil?

          So many delicious uses for the rendered fat!

          1. re: abu applesauce

            Spice tends to get toned down quite a bit after cooking for 18 hours or so.

        2. no dont, its going to render anyway in the cholent & that oil is going to go right into your beans, & thats a good thing.

          11 Replies
            1. re: abu applesauce

              i use canned beans, i freeze my meat then put a tiny bit of liquid, sauteed onion & garlic, raw potato, cooked barley seal tight and place in the oven just before shabbos at 175.

              1. re: Moishefrompardes

                Do you mean you start the cholent erev Shabbos with frozen meat in it? Is it browned at all before adding?
                I always used to put my cholent on the plata fully cooked but it would end up with that kind of gray, overcooked taste. This winter I'm on a campaign to find the right technique to improve my cholent.

                  1. re: Moishefrompardes

                    Oh, interesting. And is the meat still frozen when you put the cholent in the oven? If so, do you think that would work on a plata?

                      1. re: Moishefrompardes

                        Oh ... it's an electric warming tray, commonly used in Israel for keeping food hot for Shabbat. It has no on/off switch or temperature controls, presumably to avoid halachic problems. It turns on when you plug it in, off when you unplug it.
                        ETA: Here's a pic:

                        1. re: almond tree

                          i dont think my recipe would work on that.

                          1. re: Moishefrompardes

                            Well, I have a Shabbat mode on my oven -- maybe I'll get adventurous & try that. I'm just very used to putting everything on the plata.

                            1. re: Moishefrompardes

                              So Moshe, is that meat frozen or defrosted when you start?

                              1. re: susiejane

                                i freeze it for a few hrs so it cooks for less far i havent killed anyone. then again, my cholent is for the house, im not giving catering advice.

            2. Agreed, there is totally no need to brown your salami before cholenting. While I generally rely on different methods depending on which of the 18 or so cholent templates we play with at work, there are a couple of suggestions that would apply to just about all of them. The use of sausages of any kind, salami, cervlat, kielbasa etc have always yielded great results as long as they go in whole and not cut up. Dicing them so vastly increases their surface area that it just about guarantees a dried out offering. I'd say the same goes for only partially dried Salami. If they are fully dried on the other hand, you can totally dice them up and toss em in... not only will they not be dried out next day, but like cowboy campfire cooking with jerkeys, they will totally come back to life invigorated by the stew juices. If going by the oven/warming drawer methods, we vary the oven temps between 180-210 degrees depending on the time of year/how long that baby has too cook from candle lighting till chow time. (180 during winter months unless you are serving a hashkama kiddush early in which case, I'd go closer to 200) If you find your meats are simply drying out and awful by the time you are serving, try mixing it up with cuts that have been brined, like fatty cuts of pastrami (naval / plate cuts are my favorites for this) or corned beef. Some of the new crockpots also have a great function on there whereby they start at one temp for a 4, 6 or 8 hours and then drop down to a lower warming level to hold. Tres cool! As for platas, they are tough to work with as they generally hold temps closer to 275 degrees which will burn your cholent if left over night. As for the browning conversation.... I always brown, broil actually, my bones; marrow, rib, knee or otherwise to bring out a more intense meat profile. The same would probably go with short ribs and 2nd cut briskets. Smaller cuts like stew meats, beef cheeks and the like (love beef check btw!!!) I'd just toss in and let do their thing. The freezing idea is an interesting one and would buy you a few hours off the overall cooking time. If you have the time, I'd always go with a fatty cut and/or simple brine though.

              How did it come out anyway AbuA?

              6 Replies
              1. re: gotcholent

                <platas ... are tough to work with as they generally hold temps closer to 275 degrees which will burn your cholent if left over night>

                I've been living in Israel 22 years as of this month and have eaten quite a few cholents kept hot on platas. *None* were burnt.
                Granted platas give a different temperature but it is possible to work with it. Most Israeli cholent makers do.
                My dilemma, as I mentioned, is how to keep the cholent from getting that "bleah" overcooked taste.
                The best result so far has been a chicken & red lentil recipe lenchik posted here a year ago.

                1. re: almond tree

                  You just said the same thing. Moshe warned about platas being too hot and burning food, then you complained about the overcooked taste. Maybe your plata is the issue.

                  1. re: avitrek

                    I think, instead, the problem could be overcooking *before* I put the cholent on the plata. I've tended to sear the meat, brown onions, cook beans in advance, etc.
                    The chicken lentil cholent that I liked was very simple & involved no pre-browning or pre-cooking of any kind.
                    So what I'm looking for is recipes/techniques that will allow me to put basically raw ingredients up before Shabbat & have them cooked through in time for the seudah. That's why I'm interested in the idea of using frozen meat.
                    But I also wonder whether the frozen meat, as it defrosted, would be at an unsafe temperature for too long.
                    BTW, platas have varying temperatures according to where you place the food. I'm quite good in general at working with them to keep food warm yet not dried out. Just cholent seems to be my bugaboo.

                    1. re: almond tree

                      While it's true that putting in frozen meat, or even as many caterers do, entirely frozen trays of cholent and the like into a warmer/oven overnight will certainly leave your food in the danger zone (between 40-140 degrees) for a bit longer then the health department would like, the fact of the matter is, it will end up over that 140 mark for long enough to undo any harm done. The only times I've every been happy with my plata cholents have been when cooking them in large pots, maybe 10-12qts with maybe 25% more liquid then I would normally use. As a rule, my cholents spend their first two hours inhouse at 450 degrees and then get packaged for delivery spending the rest of their cooking lives generally in shul ovens or warmers/proofers at 180 degrees during these winter months. Beans are soaked overnight, barley is toasted, onions and bones are smoked or broiled.

                        1. re: almond tree

                          For the record, the chulent turned out pretty good. The salami was drier than I thought. I did cut it into small chunks. I think the key is to put in in late. Over the first few hours, it softened up and tasted wonderful. By the time I served it (10 hours later) it was barely distinguishable. That being said, I left the c/pot on high for way too long, and the whole chulent was a mush. Tasted great though.

              2. Waste of good sausage. After reading this thread, I used sausage as the meat in an otherwise standard Ashkenazi cholent. I used the Grow & Behold sweet Italian sausage. It was a waste of good sausage. It's not that the cholent was bad in any way, it was pretty good. It's just that the sausages sort of lost character in the slow cooking. Waste of a great sausage.

                Moral: If you have a really good sausage, just grill it, slice open fresh baguette, insert.

                3 Replies
                1. re: AdinaA

                  the only sausage that holds up in cholent is dried salami.

                  1. re: AdinaA

                    It's all about the sausages total surface area and cooking time when working with fresh sausages. Salami or even kielbasa sized sausages and larger if left unsliced can generally hold up to the long cook. nly exception would be dried meats, hard salami, jerky or otherwise, cowboy cooking...all good in my book.

                    1. re: gotcholent

                      We have put the mini turkey kabanos in with success.