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  • soaking time overnight, without browning 30 minutes, with browning 40 minutes
  • low 9-10 hours, high 5-6 hours
  • 8

Cholent is a classic Jewish dish developed as a response to religious requirements and eaten since around the Middle Ages. A slow cooker is ideal for cooking cholent.


  • 1½ cups lima beans
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1.5 kilogram piece beef brisket
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 4-5 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 turnip or small swede, peeled and diced, optional
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups water or beef stock


  1. Soak the lima beans in plenty of water overnight. Allow 3-4 times the amount of water to beans.
  2. Turn the slow cooker on to low to pre-warm while preparing the ingredients.
  3. If wishing to brown the ingredients, heat the butter in a heavy based frying-pan and brown the brisket well on all sides. Set aside. Add the onion and stir over a moderate heat until well softened. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for an extra minute or two.
  4. Drain the beans well and scatter into the base of the pre-warmed slow cooker. Add the pearl barley, onion and garlic and sit the beef on top.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots, turnip or swede if using and bay leaf.
  6. Mix together the flour, paprika, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and water or stock and pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker. The liquid needs to cover the beef and vegetables. Cover with the lid.
  7. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  8. To serve, lift the meat from the slow cooker. Slice and arrange on a platter.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to place the vegetables, beans and barley over the meat. Pour over a little of the cooking juices and garnish the whole dish with chopped parsley if wished. Serve the remaining juice on the side.

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