I went to bed last night having prepped the family that we were going to be in shul no later than 9:25am this morning. It’s unreasonable, I’ve discovered, to expect them to be in shul when it starts at 9am, but 9:25 seems doable. Plus, I have an affinity for Nishmat and I really don’t want to miss it. Call me weird.
So what happened? I woke up at 1:30pm. Yes, that’s one-thirty in the afternoon. I missed more than Nishmat. Apparently I was tired.
The fatigue has dogged me all day (as has the dog) and I was very happy that I set up tcholent in the Crock Pot before Shabbat began. The perfect end to a dreary, gray, cold and wet Shabbat and a very tired Eema.
Youngest Son (3-1/2) wasn’t too sure about the texture, but Oldest Son and Husby were eating it and leftover home-made challah (the kids each rolled and braided their own loaves this week, too!) like it was going out of style. And then I thought, Hey! I should share this tcholent with all three of my readers!
(The challah recipe is also my own, and has been perfected over the past twelve years or so, and I suppose I could share it if you really want me to.)
Since we’re quasi-vegetarian here – we eat kosher meat but only occasionally and usually only poultry (having nothing to do with all the hoopla in Postville) – I wanted a vegetarian-pareve tcholent. I took the things I liked from various recipes, put them together, simplified it a bit so it was appropriate for a chaotic Friday afternoon with small children underfoot, and gave it my own touch.
Oh, and on the spelling (some spell it “cholent”)… I mispronounced it many years ago when the term was new and unfamiliar and I thought it was a Hebrew transliteration. I probably wouldn’t remember it so well, except that I committed this little error in front of the rabbi, in the midst of trying to prove that I actually did know what I was doing. I then added the ‘t’ to the front to make sure I’d never, ever make that mistake again!
So, for your culinary delight, I now present a recipe for my very own tinkered-with-it-for-ten-years-to-get-it-the-way-I-want-it vegetarian tcholent (think Eastern European stew with a Sephardic twist).
SHEYNA’S VEGETARIAN TCHOLENT
2 cups soaked OR 1 14-oz can each of:
dark red kidney beans
garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup barley
5 medium potatoes
4-5 eggs in shells
1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp pepper (I use 1/2 tsp to make it kid-friendly)
garlic to taste
1. If beans are dry, soak overnight before preparing
2. Place soaked beans in a 5-qt Crock Pot or oven-safe pot
3. In a frying pan, saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly brown. Add barley and continue to saute until golden brown. Remove from heat and combine with beans.
4. Scrub potatoes clean and cut into large bite-size pieces (do not peel). Add potatoes to pot.
5. Add water until it just barely covers the contents. Add salt and pepper and mix the contents of the pot until evenly distributed.
6. Carefully push eggs in their shells into the tcholent and add more water until the tops of the eggs (and the rest of the tcholent) are just barely covered. Cover and set the Crock Pot for low heat. If oven-cooking, make sure the lid fits well and cook at low heat. Leave without stirring 18 hours.
7. Just before serving, cool eggs enough to remove the shells. Cut eggs into quarters or sixths and place back in tcholent. Mix and serve.
Serve hot with bread (challah is a nice accompaniment). Makes about eight servings.