Ashkenazi Style Cholent Recipe

May 19, 2022

2 min read


The iconic Jewish meat stew served on Shabbat.

Cholent is the iconic meat stew, many Jewish families serve every Shabbat day lunch. It is prepared on Friday afternoons and set to cook low and slow so that it could be served hot on Shabbat. The Torah asserts that we are not allowed to kindle a fire on the Shabbat (Exodus 35:3). Because of this, the Jewish community had to become creative with their cooking on Shabbat.  Learn more about the invention of the slow cooker here. 

Ashkenazi-style cholent was first mentioned in 1180, in the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak of Vienna. Before the birth of electricity in Europe, a pot with the collected, uncooked ingredients was brought to the local baker before sunset on Fridays. The lids of the pot were sealed with a paste of flour and water to ensure proper cooking.

With the baker’s oven fired up, the pots found a home. Nothing was disturbed until the next midmorning, when the baker would open the door and give the still-hot pots back to the families on their way home from Synagogue.

If making this recipe for a weekday, it should be ready in about 10 hours.

Recipe from Emuna Braverman.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 hours
Serves 6 to 8

  • 2-3 pounds short ribs
  • 10 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups barley (or 1 cup barley and 1 cup dried red kidney beans that have been soaked)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ground paprika
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 loaves prepared kishke (optional)
  1. Place short ribs and potatoes on the bottom of a slow cooker. Add barley and bay leaves. Sprinkle garlic, pepper and paprika over top. Drizzle honey and add water to cover.
  2. Lay kishke on top, cover and set to cook on low for a minimum of 10 hours.

Note: Kishke is a sausage type dish that was originally made from intestines, but nowadays is usually made from vegetables, oil and flour or matzo meal. It is usually placed on top of cholent and served mixed in or alongside the stew.

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