Friday, October 8, 2010

Cholent in a Bulgarian Pot

Since I knew I would be working today, and not have a lot of time to cook a Shabbat meal, I was looking for something easy to make for dinner. As the temperatures had dropped drastically this week, and it's expected to go down to 2 C tonight, I decided that the best thing to make would be cholent - or "Hamin" in Hebrew.

This traditional Shabbat dish was invented due to the religious restriction of cooking on the Sabbath, but the need to still have a hot meal. Basically, you make a big pot with beans, barley, potatoes, onions and carrots, with either chicken or beef, and often whole eggs, which cook slowly. The seasonings and some of the ingredients vary according to your origins, but the idea is the same. Once everything is placed in the pot, it is left on a very low oven to cook for around 12 hours (often overnight) so that there is a hot meal the next day.

On Thursday evening, I soaked the beans and cut up the carrots, onions and potatoes. When I got up this morning, I was quickly able to assemble the rest of the ingredients and to place it all in my very large Bulgarian ceramic pot, which is actually perfect for this type of cooking. I placed it all in the oven on a low temperature, and went to work.

When I arrived home at 3:00, our doorman stopped me and started saying somthing to me in Bulgarian - of which I understood nothing. But, by some of his hand gestures, I realized that he was trying to tell me something about my pot that I left in the oven. Since my cleaning lady had been in earlier, I could only assume that they were concerned that I left a pot cooking in the oven for so long, when I wasn't home.

I came into the apt., and the smell of the cholent was wonderful. I took the pot out of the oven, and checked that it was finished cooking. At that point, I decided to go back to our doorman with a bowl of cholent. When I went downstairs and gave it to him, I managed to tell him in my little bit of Bulgarian - "Many, many hours - perfecto!!" I think he understood me, and when Ellis came home a little later, he returned the empty bowl to him - so I hope he liked it!

1 comment:

  1. I am from Bulgaria, but for first time I see this strange meal...

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