bostonbeans

It’s recipe time folks. Now that most of you who are shareholders have your shares in your kitchens (yay!), I’ll definitely be making more effort to share grain and bean recipes here. Today, I want to first point you back to this baked beans recipe, which I really recommend for those of you who got Boston Favorite Beans. Yum! (It can be made with navy beans or other white beans as well.)

Today, I’d like to share this delicious recipe for Cholent, which uses beans and barley. I’ve been interested to try Cholent for a while – it’s a traditional Jewish dish, a slow cooked one-pot stew assembled the day before the Sabbath so that no work is done on the Sabbath, but a hot meal can still be enjoyed.

I am a big fan of dishes that can be made ahead, and which only get better with time. Cholent definitely scores big on both those. This recipe is adapted from the book Real Stew by Clifford A. Wright, which is a great book. I find that it’s a flexible recipe – if you don’t have one or two of the ingredients, you can substitute or leave them out, and still have a great stew. It also lends itself easily to a vegetarian conversion.Traditionally, it’s served with dumplings or challah.

beans(sorry for no photo of our Cholent – we have precious little inside light these days, and it does not make for good dinner pictures!)

Cholent

2 pounds beef marrow bones (shank bones – optional)

2 large onions, cut into chunks

2 pounds beef brisket or flank (for veg. version, sub mushrooms, such as button or portabella)

1 pound potatoes (Yukon Gold work well), peeled

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1/4 pound schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), chopped (if you don’t have any schmaltz lying around – and why not? – or for the veg. version, sub a hearty drizzle of walnut oil or olive oil)

1/2 cup dried red kidney beans (or Boston Favorite Beans), soaked overnight in cold water, drained

1/2 cup dried white navy beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained

1 cup barley (hulled, but not pearled, if you’re buying from the store), soaked overnight in cold water, drained

1 1/2 – 2 qts water, as needed

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Lay the beef marrow bones and onions on the bottom of a large, heavy ovenproof casserole dish or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Then, layer the beef (or mushrooms) and potatoes on top and season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle in the garlic. Sprinkle the schmaltz over the meat and potatoes. Distribute the beans and barley over the top, season again with salt and pepper to taste, and add enough of the water to just barely cover the ingredients. Drizzle the honey on top.

Place in the oven about 6 p.m., and leave until noon the next day. (Mine was actually ready to eat after only 6 hours.) Serve immediately. Bon Appetit!

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