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Hungarian-style Cholent

Every Jewish community around the world has its own version of Cholent. It’s the perfect slow cooked meal for the Sabbath, a hearty mix of meat, marrow, barley and beans prepared before the start of the Sabbath.

This is my family’s cholent, one that reminds me of my family and long, slow Saturday lunches. I was so thrilled to make this for Maeve O’Meara on SBS Food Safari a little while ago, and the clip can be seen here.

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  1. Wash beans thoroughly and soak overnight. Drain. Preheat oven to either 110°C or 160°C depending on whether using traditional or fast cooking method.
  2. In a heavy based pot, heat the schmaltz or oil in a large casserole pot. Brown the meat on all sides and set aside. Add onions and brown till dark golden. Add garlic stir in paprika and add water, salt and pepper. Then put the meat back in the pot. At this point add the marrow bones. Add the beans, pearl barley, carrots, potatoes and more salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Cover casserole tightly with foil, then lid.
  4. Place in an oven, either overnight at 100°C or for 4 hours at 160°C. Add a small amount of water if necessary to prevent the cholent from drying out.
Recipe Notes

Beans and lentils take up a lot of salt. I add 1 tbsp according to the recipe, but I always taste for seasoning at the end of the cooking, and add another large pinch or two of salt. Check for pepper again too.

At three hours of cooking the meat rises to the top of the dish and is brown and crunchy like a cassoulet. At 4 hours of cooking the meat falls apart and melts into the beans, the marrow falls out of the bones and everything macerates together.|

I serve left over cholent with a BBQ. It’s very heavy, but delicious as a base under grilled lamb chops. You don’t need much!

Leftovers freeze well. Add a bit of extra water when re-heating in the oven.

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