Updated cholent a one-pot wonder for Shabbat lunch

As soon as the relaxing weekend is over, we start thinking of the week ahead.

Checking on our schedules as tight as drums reveals we have guests coming for a Shabbat birthday lunch next Saturday. A make-ahead plan needs to be activated so as hosts we are not in the kitchen and are able to enjoy this day of rest with company.

The meal is prepared in advance, ready to be served from oven or refrigerator. The cold dishes keep well without losing their flavor, while the hot ones benefit from long, slow cooking. Together they comprise a delicious feast.

Cholent is a classic Ashkenazi dish, assembled the night before Shabbat so it can be cooked the whole night and still served hot as a midday meal.

If cholent has been a legend in your parents’ or grandparents’ kitchen, here is an updated version that can become a favorite in yours.

Mushroom spread for noshing is a light starter served with toasted challah. Fruit, cooked or fresh, makes the perfect ending to this celebratory lunch.



Serves 6

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

3-4 cloves garlic, sliced

1⁄2 cup dried lima beans, soaked in cold water overnight

1⁄2 cup dried kidney or pinto beans, soaked in cold water overnight

6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 lbs. beef short ribs, cut into pieces

6 cups water or chicken stock

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large, ovenproof pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the beans and add to pot along with remaining ingredients. Cover the pot and place in oven.

Every so often, check to see that the cholent is not getting too dry, and if it is add more liquid. It should remain in oven 10-12 hours but can cook up to 16 hours. To create a crispy top, uncover for the last hour of baking. It can also be cooked at 350 degrees for 4 hours.


Mushroom Spread

Serve 6

4 Tbs. oil

1 onion, chopped

12 oz. mushrooms, chopped

2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

1⁄2 cup toasted walnut pieces

salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil. Sauté onions and mushrooms until wilted and golden brown around the edges.

Let cool slightly. In a food processor, chop onion-mushroom mixture, eggs and walnuts until mixture becomes a rough paste. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with toasted challah slices.


Strawberries in Raspberry Sauce

Serves 6

3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved

fresh mint leaves for garnish


16-oz. bag frozen,

unsweetened raspberries, thawed

grated zest of one small lemon

2 Tbs. raspberry jam

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Purée sauce ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth.

Push through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Place strawberries in a medium bowl and pour sauce over them. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold garnished with mint leaves.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected]