As stormy cold weather continues, we can officially declare that cholent season has arrived in Israel.
By PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN
As stormy cold weather continues, we can officially declare that cholent season has arrived in Israel. What could be better on a chilly Shabbat morning than to sit down to a hot meal of cholent with your loved ones?We continue our focus on cholent from last week. Whether you heat your cholent in a crockpot, on a hot plate or in the oven, the results are always great.It doesn’t matter if you prefer the North African-style hamin, which tends to be a tad spicy, or the European-style cholent common among Asheknazi Jews, the basics are a bubbling pot and fragrances that, for many, speak of childhoods that now are in the past.Perhaps in the past, you avoided making this dish because it seemed too taxing or mysterious to make; we hope that this week you’ll give one of these tasty ideas a go!UDI’S SALAD2 thinly sliced onions, 2 very hot green peppers. 2 finely diced tomatoes, 3 crushed garlic cloves, black pepper, salt, cumin and vinegar – mix and serve next to the hamin.AdvertisementVEGETARIAN OR VEGAN HAMINAs some of my family members became vegan or refrain from meat, I am adding here a meatless version of the hamin. This version replaces potatoes with turnip or kohlrabi, and, if I can find any, quince.Makes 6-8 servings.2-3 Tbsp. olive oil3 finely diced onions3 large carrots sliced into large slices2 sweet peppers washed and quartered2-3 kohlrabies or quinces seedless, washed, and quartered2 crushed tomatoes1 Tbsp. of tomatoes pulp1 Tbsp. cuminOne half tsp. pepperAdd salt according to tasteOne small stick of cinnamonWater – use as much as you need to ensure all the foods in the pot are covered. Usually five cups of water should be enough. Add water if you need to during the cooking process.1 cup red beans1 cup white beans1 cup chickpeas2 cups of frozen okraEggs to match the number of diners – optional.NOTE: While the eggs won’t spoil the meal for vegetarians, it will not be the best idea if you have vegan guests, as vegans refrain from all animal-based products.Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and fry for several minutes. Add the carrots, sweet peppers, quinces, and mix. Add the fresh tomatoes as well as the pulp and the spices, add water, mix and increase the flame to reach boiling temperature. Taste and adjust the flavor according to your own preference. Add the beans, okra and eggs. Cook for 30 minutes and place on a hotplate for overnight. If you wish, you can continue to cook the pot using a small flame for two or three hours to reach a brown color in the eggs.Level of difficulty: MediumTime: One hourStatus: Vegetarian or Vegan [depending on the eggs]HAMIN WITH POTATOES AND CHICKPEAS (Defina)This dish originates with the Jews of Egypt and the traditional dish calls for lamb, yet I make it with beef and some might even combine chicken cuts with beef cuts in its preparation.Makes 8 servings.2 cups of chickpeas pre-soaked in water at least 24 hours earlier.4 large onions peeled and sliced into large chunks.Half a kg. of mutton or beef or several cuts of chicken8 washed and peeled medium sized potatoesWashed eggs fitting the expected number of diners.¼ cup of oilSalt and black pepper according to tasteOne garlic head separated into its clovers [no need to peel them]½ tsp. of very hot pepperI cup of well-rinsed rice or wheatHeat the oil in the pot and fry the onion until the chunks get a golden shade, add the chickpeas and the spices and place at the center of the pot the garlic head. Pour water until they reach 3/4 of the pot’s height and boil.Add the eggs and the potatoes and continue to boil. Add the rice or wheat and after you have cooked them for 10 minutes move them into a cooking bag, seal well and add to the pot this time in a bag. Boil again and move to a hotplate for overnight. If you are using an electric oven use the estimated heat emitted by a hotplate.Level of difficulty: MediumTime: One hourStatus: MeatTUNISIAN HAMIN (nikitush)This is a staple dish I grew up with. It might remind you more of a soupy dish with homemade ptitim and a meat and eggs souffle. This is a tasty and light option for those who don’t love the traditional hamin.Makes 6 servings.Ptitim:One egg1.5 cups of flour1 tsp. oilHalf a tsp. saltHamin:2 Tbsp. Oil1 large tomato sliced into quartersOne or two large onions finely diced3 stalks of karpas finely chopped300 g. to 400 g. of diced chicken or meat2 cattle bones3 sticks of cinnamon1 flat tsp of Turmeric1 to 1.5 tsp. of salt6 to 7 cups of water6 eggs [or as many as there are diners] washed and clean.Souffle150 g. of meat, ideally shoulder tender, cooked and diced200 g. chicken breast, cooked and diced.6 eggs1 hardboiled egg, diced1 cooked potato, diced3 stalks of parsley, chopped1 tbsp lemon juice1 to 1.5 tsp. turmeric1 to 2 tsp. of crushed black pepper1 to 2 tsp. of saltFor Petitim: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Then use a garlic crusher to form thin strips of material OR use your hands to make small balls. If you opted for stripes, cut them with a knife to make them smaller. Repeat your actions until all the material was used and place the tiny balls on a tray to dry out for roughly one hour.For Hamin: Heat the oil in a large pot and add the tomato onion, and karpas and steam them. Wait 2 to 3 min.Add the meat and the bones and mix well. Add the cinnamon, the turmeric and the salt, cover and let it cook for 5 to 8 min.Add water, mix and increase the flame to attain boiling temperature. Add the now dry petitim and the eggs. Mix, reduce the flame and let it cook for roughly 10 min.For Souffle: Mix the meat and the eggs in a large bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well. Move the mixture into a cooking bag, ensure it is well sealed, and place at the middle of the Hamin pot.Cook using a small flame or low temperature overnight in an oven or on a hotplate. Be sure to check the amount of liquids in the pot and if needed, to add a cup of water or even a cup and a half.Level of difficulty: MediumTime: Roughly 90 minutesStatus: Meat Translated by Hagay Hacohen.Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here.