Cholent Jewish Stew

Beigel Shop
155 Brick Lane

Family-run Beigel Shop is the oldest bagel bakery in Britain, one of the last remaining vestiges of a time when Brick Lane was home to a thriving Jewish community. Established in 1855, Beigel Shop is one of two remaining bagel bakeries in the area and is iconic of Brick Lane food culture. When I asked manager Hayley for some classic Jewish dishes she and her family eat at home, she gave me her recipe for this traditional stew. Cholent is cooked overnight on a Friday and eaten for lunch on the Saturday, when Sabbath is observed. It’s very easy but it’s best to plan for it as you need to leave it in the oven for at least 12 hours. Definitely a comfort food staple.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 750 g beef brisket, cut into large chunks
  • 125 g pearl barley
  • 750 g potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 50 g dry pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 50 g dry kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


First, add the oil to a large oven-safe pot and sauté the onions over medium heat. Add the meat and brown for around five minutes. Rinse and drain the barley and add into the pot along with the potatoes and drained pinto beans. Boil the soaked kidney beans in water over high heat for ten minutes, then drain and add to the pot. Sprinkle in the garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper.

Give everything a stir to make sure it is distributed evenly inside the pot and then add enough water to cover the meat and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for ten minutes. Don’t stir as this will break the potatoes. Preheat your oven to 120°C (100°C fan). Cover the pot tightly, and put it on the bottom shelf of the oven. Leave the stew to cook overnight. The next morning, check to see if it needs a bit more water, then put back in the oven until lunchtime.