Cholent is a Jewish classic that can be considered an early predecessor to slow-cooker recipes. In its original form, it’s put in the oven before the Sabbath and cooked at a very low temperature for about 12 hours so that it can be eaten for the Sabbath midday or late afternoon meal.
¾ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ to 2 pounds seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces (see note for gluten-free option)
4 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound ripe, juicy tomatoes, diced, or one 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup dry red wine
3 to 3/12 cups cooked small red beans, or two 15- to 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Spanish (smoked) paprika or cayenne pepper to taste
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the barley in a saucepan with 1½ cups water. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. This won’t cook the barley completely, but will give it a head start as it’s added to the stew.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and seitan. Continue to sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the seitan begins to brown lightly.
Add the barley, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, wine, and 4 cups water. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and paprika. Cook over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, or until the barley and vegetables are tender and the flavors well married. Add more water as needed to keep moist; this should be thick and stew-like, rather than soupy.
Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cook over very low heat for 5 minutes longer. If time allows, let this stand off the heat for an hour or two before serving to further develop flavor, then heat through gently. Otherwise, serve at once.
Recipe by VegKitchen at https://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/vegan-cholent/