The Savory History of Cholent

Jewish cuisine is among the most diverse in the world. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, Jewish culture is among the oldest around, and throughout much of history, Judaism thrived near the crossroads of ancient global trade routes. More recently, the Jewish diaspora has spread across the globe, bringing Jewish cooks into contact with a wide variety of culinary practices and different ingredients.

Yet no matter how much Jewish cuisine evolves, it’s hard to top Cholent, one of the most iconic dishes in Jewish culinary tradition.  The original Jewish cooks who pinned down the recipe for Cholent did so out of necessity. Since the Torah forbids cooking and the kindling of fire on Shabbat (Sabbath day), cooks had to get clever with their cooking.

Clever they got. And delicious was the result. Basically, cooks would mix a variety of meat, potatoes, beans, and barley into a pot, then bring the stew to a boil on the Friday before Sabbath. Then the pot was sealed and Jewish families would take it to the local baker.

Bakers would keep low fires in their oven going overnight. As a result, the Cholent would be slow cooked all night long. Come Saturday and Jewish families would first attend the Synagogue. On the way home, they’d swing by the baker’s to pick up their stew.

Not only did Cholent allow Jewish people to adhere to Sabbath rules regarding starting fires and cooking raw food, but the result was delicious. The slow-cooked combination of Cholent is pretty much unbeatable.

Slow cooking has become all the rage in recent years because it allows cooks to extract flavors and tenderize the meats and vegetables. Cholent is one of the oldest slow-cooking recipes, and no surprise, it’s one of the best.

These days, there are many different Cholent recipes. When it comes to authentic Jewish Cholent, everything must – of course – be kosher.  Most recipes will contain a kosher meat, such as beef or chicken. Potatoes are also very common. Rice has become quite popular, and so too have eggs, which are often left in their shell so that they’re slowly boiled overnight.

When it comes time to eat your Cholent, many prefer to separate the ingredients. The now boiled eggs are put into own bowl, while the meat and potatoes go into another, and the rice into yet another. Don’t worry, it’s completely kosher if you decide to eat your Cholent another way.

Looking for some Cholent with a bit of extra zip? Then you need to try Holy Schnitzels zCholent, a unique, artisan spin on Cholent. We’ve worked hard to modernize this ancient, iconic recipe while also paying homage to its traditional roots.

We use our own special, kosher meats in our ZCholent, and we add some special touches, such as beans. The result is a flavorful and hearty homemade stew. Costing just $8.99, our ZCholent is available every Thursday from 3:30 PM onward.

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