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.
1 ½ to 2poundsseitancut into bite-sized pieces (see note for gluten-free option)
4medium white potatoespeeled and diced
3 to 4medium carrotspeeled and sliced
1poundripejuicy tomatoes, diced, or one 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
½cupdry red wine
3 to 3/12cupscooked small red beansor two 15- to 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
1teaspoonSpanishsmoked paprika or cayenne pepper to taste
⅓cupminced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the barley in a saucepan with 1 ½ 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.
Vegan-ize any recipe!Grab our free vegan cheat sheet, packed with my favorite easy substitutions to make any recipe vegan.