Since cooking is forbidden on Shabbos, cholent was innovated by Jews in many countries: a Shabbos noon hot-meal tradition, prepared the day before, then left to cook overnight on a low heat. A large dumpling, called kugel or kishke, was included on top of the cholent. This delicious stew-type dish, which includes meat or chicken, potatoes, barley, and beans, cooks slowly while its flavors blend, spreading a delightful aroma throughout the house. A whole chicken placed on top of the other ingredients will remain intact throughout the night.
In a six- to eight-quart stainless steel pot, brown sugar in oil, while stirring. As soon as brown, add a cup of water to prevent it from burning.
Add the beans to the pot, then barley.
If desired, in a separate pot, sauté onion in oil. Combine onion with rice and wrap in cheesecloth or baking paper. Completely immerse bag of rice in water with beans and barley. Add soup bones, if desired, meat, ketchup, and seasonings.
Place potatoes on top. Add water to cover all ingredients. Cover and bring the cholent to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about one hour. If necessary, add a little more water. The water should not quite cover the food. Add kishke.
Place pot on a covered stove-top (blech) over low heat to cook overnight; or place in a 225-degree-Fahrenheit oven until lunchtime the next day; or put cholent ingredients into a slow-cooking crockpot, cook on high for about one and a half hours, then cook overnight on low. Do not stir while cooking.
To serve, place kishke (recipe follows), meat, and rice ono a large platter. Serve potatoes, beans, and barley separately in a large bowl. Alternatively, give it all a stir and serve combined, with the kishke on top.
Combine all ingredients and form into a long roll.
Wrap in baking paper and place on top of cholent mixture before Shabbos.
This recipe is excerpted from Classic Kosher Cooking: Simply Delicious by Sara Finkel (KTAV Publishing House).
Photography by Tamara Friedman