Winter Hamin (Cholent)

Nechama Rivlin

11 hours + overnight soaking

8 servings

Photography: Dan Peretz, Styling: Nurit Kariv

Hamin, one of very few dishes common across Jewish communities around the world, grew out of the prohibition of lighting fire and cooking on the Sabbath. Nechama Rivlin’s collection of recipes contains several for hamin from a range of communities with varying levels of complexity. For her family and friends, though, the most memorable version is the one Nechama made on wintry Sabbaths, featuring stuffed kishka and two kinds of beans.

The distinctive aspect of this hamin is that most ingredients are fried first. The caramelization extracts more flavors from the meat and vegetables, and the finished hamin is more nuanced in flavor. A note: You will need a cloth bag for this recipe, which you can find at most cooking supply stores.

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces / 250 grams white beans
  • 9 ounces / 250 grams  kidney beans
  • 9 ounces / 250 grams wheat berries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped, peels reserved
  • 2.2 lb / 1 kg short ribs with fat, cut into large cubes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces each
  • 4 pitted prunes
  • ½ tablespoon sweet paprika
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 beef marrow bones
  • 2 ounces / 50 grams beef fat, cut into cubes
  • 4-6 eggs (or more, if desired)
  • kishka (can be found at kosher supermarkets or butcher shops)

Preparation

  1. Soak the white and kidney beans for 8 hours or overnight in two separate bowls completely covered with water. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. Soak the wheat berries in a bowl with a generous amount of water for 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  3. Pour the olive oil into an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven that can fit all the cholent ingredients. Place the pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute for about 15 minutes or until the onion is translucent and starts to become golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the short ribs and sear them for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Sprinkle ½ tablespoon of salt over the meat and onion in the pot and stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, flipping the potatoes occasionally. Add the white beans, kidney beans, and the prunes. Stir and saute them lightly. Reduce the heat.
  6. In the meanwhile, drain the wheat berries and rinse well. Place them into a cotton cooking bag and pour ½ cup of water into it. Seal the bag. Move the beans and meat to the side of the pot to make room for the cooking bag. Place the cooking bag close on the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add enough boiling water to the pot to completely cover the cholent components, plus an extra centimeter / ½-inch. Season with black pepper, paprika, and the remaining tablespoon of salt. Add the marrow bones, sprinkle the cubes of beef fat into the pot and gently tuck the eggs into the pot. Increase the heat and bring the pot to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and place the kishka on top of the cholent mixture. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210°F / 100°C. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook the cholent for at least 10 hours. Serve hot.

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