Farro and chicken cholent

Farro and chicken cholent

Elisa Watson

My mum was famous for her cholent; I’d wake to the smell through our house on a Saturday morning and eat it straight from the pot for breakfast. Every time I type ‘cholent’ into my computer it corrects to ‘cholesterol’, which is very fitting! But this recipe won’t clog your arteries. By using chicken, it’s less fatty and much lighter on your stomach than the more traditional beef top rib. While Jewish cooking has always adapted to reflect the global cultures of Jewish people, cholent is a uniquely Jewish food – although, of course, it still has innumerable variations. The dish was designed to be prepared before the Shabbat began on Friday evening and left to cook overnight.


Quantity Ingredient
80ml oilve oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 veal marrow bones, or beef marrow bones
8 chicken thighs, on the bone, skin removed
500g oxtail
200g lima beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
300g cannellini beans, soked overnight in cold water and drained
330g farro, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
6 roasting potatoes, quartered, such as Dutch creams or desiree
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1.5 litres chicken stock, or water
sea salt, for seasoning


  1. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Fry the onion until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the bones to the pot and layer all the other ingredients, except the stock, on top, sprinkling with paprika and salt as you go.
  3. Pour in enough stock to cover the ingredients, and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  4. Cover the mixture with baking paper and a tightfitting lid.
  5. Preheat the oven to 100°C.
  6. Transfer the pot to the oven and leave to cook overnight.
  7. In the morning, remove the pot from the oven. Mix well and loosen with a little more stock if the mixture has become too dry. Check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Leave in the oven until ready to serve.
Jewish cooking
Chicken soup
Yom kippur
Dinner party
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