Veggie Cholent is the veggie version of a traditional stew prepared and put on to cook before the Sabbath begins Friday evening.
Cholent making in my home is a wonderful ritual with many layers of meaning.
I am interested in the spiritual value of rituals.
When my grandson was born, I said, “We need a ritual!” Sunday breakfast became that ritual. Over the years, details have changed, but the basic activity remains.
Sunday breakfast has layers of meaning, different for each of us. Words are a vehicle to express some meanings but not all — and that’s where ritual, which I like to call “body language,” comes in. Ritual confers “pre-verbal” meaning.
So it is with Cholent (Yiddish) or Hamin (Hebrew), meaning “hot.” Cholent is a stew prepared and put on to cook before the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday. Traditionally people enjoy it as the midday meal on Saturday, sharing warm food without violating the prohibition against cooking on the Sabbath.
Cholent has a very special meaning for me. I am not a multi-tasker, yet I am usually doing at least three things at once. I am distracted and hardly feel nurtured. But then comes Friday afternoon when we put together the Cholent and Shabbat when we share it.
A Cholent-Making Ritual
Veggie Cholent Recipe
(Makes 2 Gal. – halve the recipe unless you have a really big crockpot!)
- 1 TB Garlic
- 3 TB Ginger
- 2 TB Cumin
- 1 TB + 2 TSP Salt
- 2 Tsp Hot Paprika
- 1 Lg Spanish Onion cut in 1 in. chunks
- 2 Lg or 3 Sm Potatoes (Idaho), peeled & cut in 1 in. chunks
- 2 Lg or 3 Sm Sweet Potatoes
- 1 LB Dried Beans (Kidney, Pinto, White Pea)
- 1/2 LB Dried Chickpeas
- 1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Barley
- 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Berries
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 12 Eggs in the shell
- Mix all ingredients except eggs in a crockpot bowl.
- Add water to an inch above mixture.
- Tuck whole uncooked eggs in the shell into the top of the mixture, making certain they are fully submerged.
- Wrap foil tightly over top. Put lid over foil.
- Turn pot on medium. Cook 10-12 hours or more.
- Remove eggs, rinse and shell.
- Arrange peeled eggs on top of cholent.
Here’s to joy-filled, soulful eating!