This is the recipe that I grew up with. Though mymom didn’t like to eat chulent, she was kind enough to make it for therest of us. And much of what my mother cooked for holidays and Shabbat wasbased on what her mother (from Galicia, the region that spanned southernPoland, Austria-Hungary, and Ukraine) cooked. This is the basic recipe, butover the years I have made numerous substitutions and additions at differenttimes. See the notes for a few options.
- 1 cup barley
- 1 cup beans (any variety or a mix)
- 2 onions peeled, and cut into quarters
- 3-4 medium potatoes cleaned and cut into chunks (optional: peeled)
- 3-4 marrow bones
- 1½-2¼ lbs beef (or 3 lbs flanken on the bones, or a combo) cut into chunks
- 2 tsp salt
My mother insisted on placing the ingredients into her slow-cooker in the following order: barley, beans, onions, potatoes, bones and beef. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on top and add water to cover. She claimed the meat flavor would then permeate the barley better.
Bottom line, No fancy steps here. Just add all of the ingredients to the pot and cook overnight, using any standard method (slow-cooker, stovetop, or oven).
- Common in America are the use of barbecue sauce or ketchup for flavoring.
- Some use beer in place of all or part of the water. I don’t taste a noticeable difference.
- I have replaced barley with buckwheat (kasha) as the (equally traditional) grain. The result is slightly lighter, a bit sweeter, oddly somewhat smoky, and gluten free for those who need it.
- Add in a peeled turnip, cut into chunks, and/or 1-2 chopped carrots. Both will add a bit of sweetness into the overall dish.
- For an earthier flavor, a handful of mushrooms, or some rehydrated and cut up dried wild mushrooms can be a good addition.
- All-beef hotdogs in addition to, or in place of part of the meat add a nice smoky taste.
- Popular “bonus food” additions include a kishke or small potato kugel cooked inside the chulent. Wrap in foil and puncture with a fork before resting on top of the stew.
- Other possible flavorings include: garlic cloves or powder, black pepper, paprika, sugar, honey or prunes.