Monday, May 14, 2007

Cholent Checklist

Every time I make cholent, it seems when I wake up the next morning to smell that delicious smell, I'm also struck by a "D'oh!" feeling as I remember failing to add some ingredient I wanted to include. Of course the beauty of cholent is that it's wildly open to variations. No two of my cholents come out alike. But with practice, they have gotten consistently better. And so, rather than a recipe, I conclude this blog with a checklist of required and optional ingredients. I plan to return to tweak the format a bit. And I will happily post your comments. Happy Cholenting!
Required Ingredients
  • One teaspoon of jam*
  • Some form of beans: kidney beans, chick peas, white beans or a mixture
  • Rice or barley
  • Spices: which ones? NOT salt. Paprica, a dash of cinnamon... pepper, Chinese 5 spice works wonders.
Optional Ingredients
  • Potatoes. Washed, cut into walnut-sized chunks.
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Prunes
  • Eggs. Whole. Put them uncooked on top of everything else.
  • Meat. Browned.**
  • Onions.
  • Garlic
  • Kishkes
  • Stuffed eggplants for hamin (see recipe)
*Not sugar, not catsup. Jam. Any kind. Just a teaspoonful. No idea why, but it works.
** Highly recommended. Even as a long-term vegetarian, I have to admit the meat makes a difference. A huge time saver is to create what my mother invented as "cholent active packs". Buy a bunch of meat, brown it with onions and freeze in separate packs. When Friday comes, just take out a pack (no need to defrost) and add all the other ingredients.

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