Claudia Roden’s cholent

A soup bowl of cholent: cooked brisket, carrot, onion and potato visible

A bowl of cholent cooked overnight – I cut the fat off before eating but was grateful for it for ’tis the fat that gives the dish flavour


From my late mother’s The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden, the cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist

Claudia Roden’s recipe is based on one by Shmulik and his wife Carmela, of  Shmulik Cohen Restaurant in Tel Aviv, which has neither changed its location (where it started as a street kiosk) or menu since it was founded in 1936 by Shmulik’s grandfather. Love a family business. 

This is the first time I have made cholent. What attracted me to this recipe were the marrow bones, a (cheap) nutritional powerhouse.  Also, I could cook it for hours and it was ready to eat when I got home from the Biodynamic Land Trust’s Land Whispering training.

1kg (2lb) fatty beef – brisket, breast or rib

2 large onion sliced

Marrow bones 

1kg (2lb) peeled potatoes, whole if small, halved if big

100g (4oz) pearl barley (optional)

250g haricot or butter beans, soaked for one hour (or already cooked)

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add whole peeled garlic cloves and a peck of dried chilli.

In a large pot or casserole with a tightly fitted lid, brown the meat (in its own fat or in a tablespoon of oil). Remove it, and fry onions till soft. Return the meat to the pot, add the marrow bones, potatoes, barley and beans around it, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove the scum with a large metal spoon, then put the lid on and leave in the lowest oven (225F, 110C, gas 1/4) overnight.

A traditional dish to break today’s fast. Am afraid I did not fast, but I did feast.

It is autumn and harvest time. Happy new year!

4 responses to “Claudia Roden’s cholent

  1. Mmm looks mouth-wateringly delicious…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Geraldine! It is an amazing dish and I especially love the strengthening, healing and unctuous broth thickened with haricot beans and potatoes.


  3. Philippa Winkler

    I loved this recipe but wonder if it needs to be in the oven? Can it be on the stovetop as well?


    • Hi Philippa, you could certainly do it on the stove, but the advantage of doing it in the oven is you can use a very low light and leave the pot/casserole unattended. If it is on the stove, you have to check it every half an hour or so to make sure the water has not boiled away.


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