#UltimateShabbatLunch: Cholent

Get Ready for The Shabbat Project: #KeepingItTogether

The girls of the Monday Morning Cooking Club have put together an #UltimateShabbatLunch video for #theshabbatproject (#theshabbosproject) to ensure that Shabbat can be spent with family and friends rather than standing in the kitchen. It is a three course non-dairy lunch, all of which can be made ahead of time for Shabbat. We have a video for you to watch as well as a Shopping List and Preparation post.

Cholent is the perfect Shabbat lunch main course. It is a traditional dish often made on Fridays and slow cooked all night ready the next day’s lunch. It was an inexpensive hearty stew – full of beans, barley, potato and a little meat – and it fed a lot of people.

This recipe comes from the kitchen of Yvonne Fink, Melbourne. Yvonne always makes it with lots of love and patience, going so far as to wake in the night ‘just to check on it’. (But really YOU don’t have to!) Over the years we have enjoyed many different cholents and this, an old style ‘Melbourne’ version, is a favourite. Add a couple of spoons of paprika for more spice, some chopped carrots for colour or some smoked bones for a rich flavour.

This is a recipe that every home needs!

Yvonne's Cholent

It is the simplest of meals with basic ingredients but when all cooked together for such a long period of time, makes for a dish with exceptional flavour and textures. It needs to be left on all night in a low oven - please make sure it is safe in your house to do so. Also, you might want to check that your oven doesn't have a safety function which turns it off after many hours. Some of us have to use the "Sabbath Setting" to override this in our ovens. Otherwise, the cholent can be made in the crockpot or slow cooker.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 30 minutes
Course Mains
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 10 people


  • 280 grams dried lima beans (1 heaped cup)
  • 120 grams dried red kidney beans (1/2 heaped cup)
  • 130 grams pearl barley (1/2 heaped cup)
  • 5 large onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 750 grams piece fresh beef brisket
  • 2 pieces beef top rib or asadao (cut across the bone) beef ribs
  • 5 small waxy potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 cups boiling water (1 litre)


  • Start this recipe 2 days before serving. You will need at least a 6 litre (24 cup) flameproof casserole dish. Soak the beans and barley together in a large bowl in plenty of water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse.
  • Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F/Gas 2).
  • Saute the onion in the oil in a frying pan over medium - high heat until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the onion and set aside.
  • Put the brisket in the bottom of the casserole dish (see NOTE below). Divide each of the onion, beans/barley and potato into three. In that order, put one layer of each, then half the top rib, another layer of each, the remaining top rib, the remaining layer of each, finishing with a layer of potato.
  • Dissolve the salt in the boiling water and pour in the dish. It should come to just under the top layer of potatoes (you may not need it all OR add more water if necessary). Bring to the boil on the stovetop and then place an open brown paper bag or some baking paper on top of the potato layer and cover with a lid.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
  • Turn the oven down to 100°C (200°F) and cook for a further 20 - 22 hours, checking for time to time. Add more water if it looks like it is drying out too much.
  • NOTE re cooking time: Alternatively, cook at 150°C (300°F/Gas 2) for 4 1/2 hours.
  • NOTE re brisket: We like to cut the brisket into 3 pieces, across the grain, before placing in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Need to see the #UltimateShabbatLunch video and recipes on one page? They are right here.

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Egg and Onion recipe

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Cinnamon Apple Pie recipe

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Shopping List and Prep Sheet

#TheShabbatProject: Challah recipe and video

Did you love this recipe? It is from our latest collection in “The Feast Goes On”.

Don’t miss out on our original collection in “Monday Morning Cooking Club” !

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