Are you in for a heartwarming and belly busting treat?
This cholent is quite a delicacy!
But I have to be honest here, I had never heard of it before. Until I was in the Czech Republic a couple of weeks ago with this awesome group of foodies from all over the world. Every year we meet in another country, and preferably in a town or city where one of us lives.
Visiting places with locals is the best!
So long story short.
That year we decided that our meeting would take place in the Czech Republic.
And one day we ended up in this small picturesque village by the name of Mikulov where we had lunch at hotel Tanzberg’s restaurant. And there I saw this cholent dish on the menu. I didn’t know what it was, I had never heard of it before but the description sounded delicious.
Just for the record, cholent or Hamin is a traditional Jewish stew. You could call it a bit like a local version of a French cassoulet, with duck. So that and the explanation of our local guide and Czech foodie friend Martin made me go for it.
And I was right to do so.
A little while later, the waiter put the most loveliest bowl of beans, wheat berries, shredded confit duck and pickled gherkins in front of me. Such a pretty looking plate! I loved it, and so did my husband who actually regretted going for a salad.
Cholent Recipe with Confit Duck
Just look at it, it’s a piece of art!
And see how small those beans are. A couple of days later we stopped at a local supermarket where I was able to find those small dried white beans there. Quite a souvenir to take home with us!
So I was determined to copy this cholent recipe at home. I still had a tin of confit duck legs in my pantry that I took home with me the last time we visited Paris. And it was just sitting in my kitchen cupboard waiting for a great recipe to make with it.
And it sounded like the perfect occasion to open it!
Look, I didn’t prepare it the traditional way, more like my way. I also based my recipe on the dish I had in Mikulov. It was quite chunky and rich.
I saw different versions of this dish online that looked more like baked beans with loads of sauce. In fact this cholent is a Jewish bean stew. You can also add other meats such as beef or chicken. You traditionally oven bake the classic cholent overnight at a low temperature.
The thought behind is that you add all the ingredients to a large baking dish on Friday and bake it for hours until it is ready to eat for lunch on Saturday. Or Shabbat because it’s the day of rest when cooking, baking and the kindling of a fire are prohibited for Jews who follow the rules of their religion strictly.
Like I said before I prepared this cholent my way: it is ready after a generous 2 hours in the oven. I used some of the duck fat to make this dish. The traditional cholent contains schmaltz, which is rendered chicken or goose fat. You can use it for frying food or as a spread for bread.
I hope you will like this one as much as we did!
Cholent, a Jewish bean stew: my style!
- 1 large confit duck leg
- 4,5 oz dried white beans (125 g), soaked overnight
- ½ small onion chopped
- 1 small fresh carrot peeled and chopped
- 1 small stalk fresh celery diced
- 1 large garlic clove peeled and chopped
- 2 ½ cups beef stock (600 ml), or chicken stock
- 3 oz wheat berries (85 g)
- 1 tbsp duck fat or unsalted butter
- 2 pickled gherkins sliced
- a handful fresh dill chopped
- ⅓ tsp paprika powder
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 clove
Soak the beans overnight.
Add the duck fat (or butter), chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cloves and bay leaves to a large pan.
Place it over medium heat until the fat or butter has melted. Stir well and cook for 4 minutes. Strain the soaked beans and then add them to the pan also.
Give the ingredients a good stir. Then add the stock and paprika. Season with a good dash of pepper.
- Stir and bring the ingredients to a boil. Then take the pan off the heat and pour it all in a baking dish.
Cover and place the dish in a preheated oven at 320°F (160°C) for an hour. Then add the confit duck leg and wheat berries.
Give it a good stir. Bake the beans uncovered for about 45 minutes. After that shred the confit duck up and remove skin and bones. Add the meat back to the beans and stir. Add extra water if necessary.
Then place the cholent uncovered in the hot oven for another 30 minutes. In the end check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Remove the clove and bay leaves. Scoop the cholent onto deep plates and drizzle with the remaining cooking liquid. Garnish with the chopped dill and sliced gherkins.