Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Joel D Parker » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:45 pm

Dear Daniel,

You promised to give your recipe for chulent. So, now, by the powers invested in you, pronounce it done!

Thanks in advance, and don't forget to reminisce about kishke, which I'm sure is not the same as what my grandmother says to annoying cats in the neighborhood--kishte, kishte.

Joel

And I'm looking forward to making this and drinking it with a nice Chateauneuf du Pape or Syrah as per another thread.
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Re: Cholent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:38 pm

Joel, Hi….

Delighted to invoke the powers-that-be, but with apologies to you, I must correct a serious (!!!) error in your post. It may be pronounced chulent but by all the gods and demi-gods, it is spelled cholent. Not a correction to be taken lightly of course for some of those demi-gods are pretty nasty when they get ticked off. And, for those not fully in the know, although Ashkenazi Jews refer to the dish by this name, to Sepharadi Jews it goes under the name of chamim. No fear, however, for a rose by any other name and all that.


Cholent

2 cups onions, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter or for kashrut 1 Tbsp. each parve margarine, olive oil and walnut oil
2 kilos (4 1/2 lbs) potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup pearl barley (can double that if desired)
3 cups white beans, soaked overnight in water
1/2 kilo (1 1/4 lb) chicken fat
2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 kilo brisket of beef, cut into 2" (5 cm.) cubes
1 kilo stuffed kishke (see following recipe)
oil for frying

In a heavy skillet sauté the onions until golden brown.

Grease a large heavy saucepan or kettle. In this arrange layers of potatoes, barley, beans and chicken fat. Add the seasonings. Repeat these layers until all of the ingredients have been used. On this lay the beef and over this put the kishke. Over all spoon the fried onions and then fill the pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over a high flame. Cover and seal the pot (with aluminum foil perhaps), and place in an oven at lowest heat. The cholent will be ready to eat after 18 hours but is best after 24 hours. Serve hot. (Serves 8 - 12.)




Now to the kishke. It is undoubtedly true that every Jewish grandmother made their kishke* better than every other Jewish grandmother and to say otherwise would be considered heresy! Truth is that cholent can be eaten without kishe but as such is a poor shadow of the glory that cholent can be. On the other hand, kishke can be eaten on its own, especially when spooned over with a rich brown sauce (not from a tin, dammit, but made at home). If you do choose to serve kishke on its own be absolutely certain to have a fresh challah (what the heck, a good French or Italian bread will do in a pinch) so that you can mop up those bits and the sauce that remain on the plate.

My own favorite memories of kishe are of those prepared by my maternal grandmother (Gittel); at Skilowitz' Delicatessen on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn (possibly to demonstrate how truly ancient I am, I lived in Boro Park before it was an Orthodox enclave); at a nameless Jewish restaurant in the Paris' Marche aux Puces (the flea market). Not to neglect Israel, truly great kishke (with or without cholent) can still be found at Batia's, Shmulik Cohen's and Elimelech in Tel Aviv and at Ma'ayan Ha Biera in Haifa.

It should be noted that fine kishke can be purchased at a variety of Jewish delicatessens and restaurants (avoid any that come frozen as those are no better than frozen pizzas, and frozen pizzas, as should be well known are an abomination on the face of the land) in Israel, the UK and the USA. There can be, however a great if not somewhat messy pleasure in making this treat at home.

Kishke

l meter (3 feet) of beef casing
1/2 cup chicken fat
1 or 2 large onions, chopped finely
1 cup flour
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup beef or mutton suet
salt and pepper to taste (to be used generously)

Wash and clean the casing thoroughly, scraping off the fat with a dull knife and discarding. Cut into lengths of about 8" (20 cm.) and sew one end of each length closed.

In a skillet melt the chicken fat and suet and in this sauté the onions until browned.

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt and pepper. Add the melted chicken fat and onions and the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. Stuff each section of the casing loosely with this filling and sew the second end closed. Rinse off any flour that adheres to the surface. Immerse in boiling water for 5 minutes and then drain. (At this point the kishke is ready for use in cholent).

To serve the kishke on its own, arrange the sections in a shallow, lightly greased casserole or baking dish and bake in a medium oven until well browned (about 1 1/2 hours), basting frequently with the drippings. Serve hot with the brown sauce of your choice and with plenty of challah, French or Italian bread.


*Many, especially in the USA and the UK know kishe as "stuffed derma". The reason for this is that kishke in Yiddish means "guts" or "intestines" and many of the immigrants to those countries found that unappetizing. Thus, stuffed derma. Now it is true that derma in its original form (from the Greek) refers to skin. I have always wondered why "stuffed skin" is any more appealing than "stuffed guts". But who am I to question the wisdom of either the Greeks or modern-day Jews?
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Re: Cholent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Joel D Parker » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:46 am

Thanks for the spell check and the mouth-watering recipe. I was just informed though, by Yossi Booblil (a demi-god to some) that while Freidmanim might be eating cholent, pronounced chulent, he and his fellow Booblilim only eat חמין pronounced Hamin. 8)
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Re: Cholent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Trevor F » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:35 am

Joel D Parker wrote: I was just informed though, by Yossi Booblil (a demi-god to some) that while Freidmanim might be eating cholent, pronounced chulent, he and his fellow Booblilim only eat חמין pronounced Hamin. 8)


You mean ' dafina' , the North African version of cholent ?? Hamin are the brown eggs served with it, together with the trigo. Best dafina I ate was at this kosher restaurant in Kowloon:

http://www.kehilat-zion.org/restaurant.php

for Shabbat ( Saturday ) lunch. And being Shabbat, it was free as well.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Daniel Rogov » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:16 am

Indeed Trevor, dafina in Morocco, chamim (with a hard ch at the beginning of that word) in Tunisia and Algeria, hamin (nice, normal h) in Turkey and Greece, and t'beet in Iraq. In fact, when it comes to slow cooked stews, just about every ethnic group in the world has one. Mongolian hutesput for example was put up by Mongolian hunters by digging a pit, reducing wood to charcoals, placing a clay pot on those filled with the stew for the 24 - 48 hours they would be on the hunt and then to have a hot and filling meal awaiting on their return. And let us keep in mind that Brazillian fejoada* had its origins with bandits who would haunt the roads of the country as long as 400 years ago waiting for innocent bystanders. Not at all Robin Hoods but simply taking from the rich becuse it was profitable.

Best
Rogov

*Making a kosher version of fejoada a somewhat obscene idea because without the ears, nose, fatback, feet, tail and other varied parts of the hog fejoada simply is not fejoada. Do, however consider the possiblity of serving farofa alongside your cholent, by whatever name that cholent happens to go.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Charlie Dawg » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:25 pm

THough there are tons od cholent recipes, and I've tried to make few, I found that using cross cut shank or short ribs for meat gives a much better result in the end.
You are what you eat.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Mark Lieser » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:07 pm

A few thoughts.

1. There really is no point in criticizing anyone's cholent recipes as there are probably as many recipes as there are Jews.
2. I think the beauty of cholent is that it will likely taste good regardless of how little time you spend preparing it. In fact, since it's going to cook for 18 or so hours, all you really need to do is throw all the stuff in a pot with minimal fuss and preparation (in my opinion.)
3. Finally, after moving to Israel we discovered a way of slightly "de-Ashkenazi-fying" our cholent. Instead of kishke, throwing in Yemenite jachnun works well, too. The dough absorbs the juices of the meat and the spices.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Charlie Dawg » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:36 pm

If you are talking to me, then i don't see me crtisizing anybody, I just said that for me shank and ribs worked better.
You are what you eat.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Mark Lieser » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:58 am

Relax, Charlie. No criticism of you intended WHATSOEVER. If anything, I was marvelling about how much work appears to go into Rogov's recipe. I don't think I've ever spent more than 7-10 minutes throwing the ingredients in the pot, and almost invariably it tastes good. But I'm sure Daniel's is quite delicious, as well. I must have tasted over a hundred different cholents made by different cooks. Rarely is it bad, some are better than others, but they are all different.

Shabbat shalom.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Joel D Parker » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:51 am

Dear Trevor and Daniel,

Cholent in Hebrew is in fact Chamin, though the word 'chamin' is used also by older folks to refer to boiling water, i.e. maim chamin was used to mean the same thing as maim chamim. Today if you say Chamim by itself, not referring to water, you mean, kind of hot, warm, etc. (according to Even Shoshan)

Whether the Hebrew word has anything to do with North Africa or the Middle East, I do not know. Unlike hummus and other such Middle Eastern foods, I've never encountered the word in Arabic. I imagine that there is a connection between Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews and the Hebrew word for the dish, but cannot verify that by any dictionary or through Google searching. Also, I don't know if Sephardic Jews use a different term outside of Israel--perhaps they do use the word Chamim...

Shabbat Shalom,
Joel
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Charlie Dawg » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:46 pm

I am completely the opposite. I do not like cholent at all. Rarely if ever it tastes edible to me. Though people love when i make cholent, and evn kids who usually do not like it run to me to ask if i made cholent so they would know if they should bother eating or not. I make cholent for shull, and it takes me good couple hours to make it.
You are what you eat.
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:46 pm

Oy, Charlie...

One day you've got to taste my cholent. Not as orgasmic as my latkes but the kind of stuff that has made grown men and women shed tears of joy. And I do serve good wine with my cholent.

Best and Smiling
Rogov
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Re: Chulent--For Heaven's Sake!

Postby Charlie Dawg » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:41 am

I do not doubt that yor cholent tastes great, I am just not a cholent person. At home, for my family I make soup for shabbos day and keep it on the blech.
You are what you eat.
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