My father goes down to the Kosher store every Thursday to buy (dare I "speak" the words) meat and poultry for Shabbat dinner (which he and my mother begin cooking on Thursday night). (I mostly like to do my cooking on Wednesday, but I usually make my cholent (a bean and barley dish) on Thursday.)
So today, my father ordered chopped turkey but got distracted and forgot to get the turkey. So I volunteered to walk all the way down the block (I needed the steps -- I try to hit 12,000 steps a day) to get it for them.
While I was there, I saw the husband of a friend and we got to talking about my cholent. Someone was standing on line and we started talking about how I make my vegan cholent.
So I started telling her how I make it and she took it down on a piece of paper (was it the back of an envelope??? Shades of the mythology of the Gettysburg Address!). In any case, when I got home, I remembered I forgot to tell her one thing (If you're reading this, I forgot to tell you to add almonds also to the soaking beans)....
Ok, so here is how I do it. I have 5 different beans I really like that are relatively easy to get. I also use barley (not pearled barley -- I get unprocessed barley from the local health food store) and almonds and (black) lentils and wild rice. I take 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) each of the 5 beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans (which I also get at the health food store) and almonds along with 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) barley. I try as much as possible to get organic. I take all the beans and barley I measure out, put it in my slow cooker and cover it all with cold water and I soak it either overnight or for about 6 hours.
I then drain the beans, add 2 tablespoons each of the lentils and wild rice, cover the beans, etc., with water, add my favorite spices (which are -- 1 teaspoon each turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, paprika, and sometimes chili powder -- I also add 2 teaspoons brown mustard seed when I have it -- and a generous squirt of spicy brown mustard -- I also add grated fresh ginger -- I take a piece of ginger about an inch or so wide and grate it in) and turn the dial on "hi" until the water boils. Then I turn it down to "keep warm", add veggies (that I saute Wednesday -- onions -- I like red onion -- shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots (I use shredded carrots) whatever you like) and leave it overnight.
In the morning, I turn the dial to "hi" again and make up the "kugel" -- flour and water (right now, I can't eat wheat, so I use spelt and oat flour or sprouted wheat flour -- which I can eat) -- I personally like my "kugel" really stiff (I use about 1/2 cup flour and 1/4-3/8 cup water) but my Mom likes hers loose, so she makes it more like cake batter -- mine is more like cookie cutter cookie dough. I make the "kugel" into small balls and drop them into the boiling cholent, cover the pot again, and turn the dial back down to "keep warm".
If I start the bean soaking Thursday morning, add the "kugel" Friday morning, it generally tastes perfect by Shabbat lunch.
B'Tai'avon! (that's Hebrew for "bon appetit!")
I'd love to hear about your variations in the comments......
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