This year 2015 / 5775 we had six great Cholents in the running. All participants received two tickets to vote for the best 2 Cholents of their choice.
THE CHINESE CHOLENT
This was prepared by Moshe’s friends, the Maimonides Albany HS Boys visiting this weekend, primarily by Sholom K. Many of you may recognize his father with the long orange beard from Kosher Price Chopper in Colonie. It’s unusual ingredients included Daikon radish, ginger and rice vinegar, lots of meat sauteed in peanut oil, and Srriacha hot sauce. This Cholent came in first place with the most votes. This may have been influenced by 9 boys voting for the same, but it actually was quite a good Cholent and it was certainly different!
MY MOTHER’S CHOLENT
This was a big pot of vegetarian Cholent, prepared by Rachel L. as per her mother’s recipe. It was seasoned with paprika and chili powder, garlic and tomato sauce, filled with potatoes and beans of course, and was very flavorful!
MRS. K’s CHOLENT
Eric K. made this Cholent according to his mom’s recipe, hence the “Mrs K” title (we didn’t want to give away the Cholent-makers before the vote). It had both meat and sausage, two types of beans, onions of course and it was very tasty and flavorful. There was also a sweet potato hidden in that mix.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING CHOLENT
Our two-time Cholent Cookoff winner Eliot H. came back up as an alumni to submit a most unusual recipe that included Dr. Pepper, instant coffee, marrow bones, a big hunk of pastrami, some salami and kishke, potatoes, and a whole bunch of spices including garam masala. It had a smoky touch and was rich in multi-flavor. This year he came in as runner-up. Some people really enjoyed the marrow bones, but that’s an acquired treat.
THE CHOLENT FLOWING WITH “MILK AND HONEY”
This was the most inventive and out of the box Cholent of all. Andrew R. of Texas, here for the Senate internship thought this up out of his head. It was a vegetarian Cholent, with a coconut milk base, filled with butternut squash, couscous and Jachnun -the Yemenite rolled dough and some other stuff. Amazingly, it all came together as a rich sweet desserty-type Cholent, the flavors and texture really melded together very nicely.
Ben I. and Eliran R. did this jointly, following a family Bukharian recipe. This was first cooked on the stove and then put into the crockpot. It had meat on the bone, sushi-type rice, and believe it or not diced green apples and apricots (people were surprised to hear that) and lots of flavoring. In good Sephardic tradition they also cooked a dozen eggs inside, which absorb the flavor of the Osvo stew. We’ve done that a number of times, especially when Herman the professor would pray with us, but they don’t usually go. This time there wasn’t a single egg left.
Each student got two tickets to put into the Cholent of their choice. It seems that the visiting Maimonides HS boys voted as a block so their Chinese Cholent came in first (though it was a very good Cholent). Eliot’s “A Little Bit of Everything” came in next, and after that the next two were just a ticket or two away, so it actually was quite tight. It was a great Cookoff, people put a lot into it, and we all had lots of tasty Cholent because of it.
In addition to Cholent (aka among Sephardic Jews as Adaphina or Chamin) being a very traditional Jewish Sabbath day food, we couldn’t have all this emphasis on Cholent without a meaningful life message. See it here at Mendel’s Messages: “Slow Cookers and Judaism”.
This year’s Cholent Cookoff was dedicated in memory of Moshe Hikind, Lianne’s father, for his love of Cholent and memories of him making it for his daughter. Lianne spoke a bit about the varied ingredients that go into people and relationships and how her father taught her to always learn something from everyone. It was also dedicated in memory of her grandmother.
Other long-time Cholent at Shabbos House enthusiasts and sponsors are Rob Klein and Dan Berns. Years later, they still speak of and remember the Cholent and contribute towards it, year after year!