Shabbos Stew

This recipe has been in Jewish families for many years. And the Shabbos Stew within a full Jewish dinner would start with chicken soup, and the main course was almost always the same: Shabbos Stew (or cholent), sometimes served with apple sauce or fruit compote. Dessert was poppy seed cookies, sponge cake or apple slab.


  • 3 pounds flanken or short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika
  • 2 tablespoons shmaltz (chicken fat) or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Water for cooking
  • 1 cup dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight in 3 cups of water, then drained
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into halves or quarters

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Season the meat generously with the salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. In a 6 quart pot, heat the chicken fat or oil.
  4. Brown the onions over moderate heat, stirring from time to time.
  5. Push the onions to the sides of the pot and brown the meat very well all over.
  6. Sprinkle the garlic over the meat, add 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Reduce to a gentle boil, cover the pot, and cook 1 hour.
  8. Turn the meat over.
  9. Add the soaked, drained lima beans, the barley, potatoes, and another cup of water.
  10. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil, and cover the pot, and cook for another hour.
  11. Turn the meat over again. Taste and correct the seasoning.
  12. Cook for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, until everything is very tender.
  13. The casserole will be moist, but most of the liquid will be absorbed.
  14. The cholent is ready to be served.

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