My husband (pictured here, with my daughter Hadassa) makes the cholent. And he does a seriously good job. If you’re not familiar with cholent, think like this; Cholent is to Jews what minestrone is to Italians. We make it Friday afternoon when we’re preparing for Shabbos and it simmers happily until we serve it for Shabbos lunch (Saturday). (On Shabbos we don’t cook at all – everything is prepared before)
Mmm, cholent is the king of all stews. It can cook for twenty hours and it just keeps getting better. Sometimes, in the summer we have friends who don’t want to make cholent because it’s too heavy and hot. But for us, it’s cholent or bust! (Actually, eating cholent can sometimes make you bust!)
I’ve gotten so spoiled by my husband making the cholent that I dont’ even have it on my mind when I go shopping. Which is a problem. I keep forgetting to buy him the ingredients!
This has been going on since we’re married. It’s so hard on his system, my amazingly organized husband. Once, I felt so bad that I kept forgetting things, that I bought a case of barley as a present! I left it outside as if UPS had dropped it off.
“Surprise! It’s barley!” I just knew how happy it would make him.
He doesn’t want much, the man, just meat and potatoes. And barley and beans and honey ….
At one point he made me a list, THE MASTER LIST.
Aisle by aisle up and down the whole supermarket. Oh, I was so organized, I just felt like getting an award. I even stopped shopping.
I would send my kids into the store with the list and my notes scribbled all over it and presto, they’d find everything!
But then, the store moved. and everything changed places. No more baking in aisle 2.
And do you think I made a new list? No. And do you think I started to forget his ingredients again. Yes!
He’s not that demanding. Well, he’s not at all demanding. But he comes home from work worn out at 5:00 and it’s almost Shabbos and he’s got to start cooking and he’s counting on me!
And the horrible part is, I know how organized and efficient he is. I know how it just makes sense to him that “if you need reminding, write it down.” (Hey, that does make sense!) And I really don’t like that I push his buttons.
Sometimes, I have my kids distract him while I grab the car keys and run back to the store before they close. But he always knows. (how does he know?) Every time he patiently waits while I run to the neighbor for potatoes, I cringe. But I fall in love again. No matter how much it annoys him, he’s determined not to make me feel bad.
Bezalel’s cholent is legendary. We have reviews from the 84 year old woman who never eats cholent but took seconds, and from the 14 year old who won’t eat cholent but asks to be invited just to have ours. At Bezalel’s office they take turns making cholent every week for the staff and guess who keeps on being asked. That’s right!
Now, Jewish woman pretty much all make great cholent. I mean it’s cholent, you can’t beat it.
But I think Bezalel’s cholent is so amazing for a reason. I only figured it out last week (when I forgot the beans!). He puts his incredible middos (character) in it. He puts in self control, patience and love.
Kabbalah teaches that when a man gets to the Next World he is judged on his kindness by how he treated his wife. You can taste it in the cholent. I’m telling you!
He doesn’t know I’m writing this but I asked him for the recipe. It’s not exact, but if you want to give it a whirl, let me know how it comes out. And don’t forget the magic ingredient; love
8-10 large potatoes
4 marrow bones
1 large beef kalky ( any good meat is good, but we like this cut)
1 can Heinz baked beans (important – withe the sauce)
1 bag barley
1 diced onion
1-2 soup spoons honey
teaspoon coriander (powder)
lots of garlic powder
10-11 shakes back and forth of salt ( with a Morton salt shaker – this is many tablespoons of salt)
3-4 soup spoons Osem onion soup mix
3-4 soup spoons Osem beef soup mix
5-6 shakes hot pepper
Lots of water – almost till the top of a 8-10 qt pot
Let it get to a boil then simmer on low – you should just see a few little bubbles, for minimum 7 hours ( it’s usually eaten in it’s really ready state after 15 hours of cooking!)
Or; Put ingridients in to a crockpot. Turn switch to High for an hour and then Low for 10-15 hours
Serves 12- 15 hungry people
Note – this tastes about a thousand times better accompanied but the singing and joy of a Shabbos table!