Cholent Cook-off Champion!

Sorry I’ve been MIA, but I’m getting married next month so things have been a little crazy. I probably won’t have much time to post between now and then, but bear with me, I’ll be back in full force in September 🙂

A few weeks ago I went to a Jewish leadership conference, where, among other things, I participated in a cholent cook-off. [For those of you who don’t know what cholent is, here’s a quick primer: Jews who are Sabbath observant do not cook on the Sabbath, so if you want hot food for lunch, you have to figure out some way to keep food hot from Friday at sundown until Saturday lunch-time. Enter the crockpot. Throw raw ingredients in before the Sabbath begins, and it’ll cook low and slow and be hot and delicious for lunch the next day. You can read more about cholent here.]

Now traditionally, cholent is made with onions, potatoes, beans, meat, barley, and spices. It was really interesting to see the particularities of each cook’s recipe. Who peeled their potatoes and who didn’t, who used this spice or that spice, what cuts of meat people chose.

Over the years I’ve added a few of my own twists to the traditional cholent recipe, partially because of my food restrictions (no more barley), and partially because of tastes (I don’t like kidney beans, the traditional cholent bean), and I thought for the competition people wouldn’t like my cholent because it’s pretty different. Apparently I was wrong! I emerged the victorious cholent champ. And here’s my recipe:

Rella’s Cook-off Winning Cholent


3 yukon gold potatoes, cubed
3 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained
1 1/2 cups raw white rice
1/4 lb beef bones
1/4 cup onion soup mix
3 Tbsp smoked paprika
4 cups beef broth
1.5 lb chuck steak
1 bottle cocktail or chili sauce


  1. Put potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, chickpeas, rice, bones, onion soup mix, and smoked paprika into a 6 quart crock pot. Stir to combine ingredients. Pour in beef broth.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sear steak, about 2 minutes on each side. Place on top of ingredients already in the crock pot. Pour cocktail or chili sauce to cover steak.
  3. Cook on low for 16-18 hours. If you check it in the morning (or after 10 or so hours) and it’s more liquidy than you would like, leave the lid off for a few hours. If it’s too dry, add a little hot water. Season to taste.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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