Religious Jewish people are not permitted to cook on the Sabbath. However, dishes prepared in advance may be kept hot in a previously lit oven. In Central Europe, one of the favourite Sabbath dishes was Cholent (primarily a bean dish) because its flavour was not impaired by long, slow cooking; if anything, it was improved. The good houswives would prepare their Cholent on Friday afternoon and place it in the local baker's ovens; the fires were banked, but the ovens retained their intense heat over the Sabbath. It would cook slowly overnight and after schul (synogogue) services were finished, it would be a delicious hot dish for a hungry family.
Cholent may be served as a main course or as a side dish, particularly with roast meats. Its consistency when done is quite thick, without liquid, but not quite dry. In a general sort of way, it might be said to resemble old fashioned Boston Baked Beans, although it isn't quite so sweet. This Cholent recipe includes meat, a modern refinement of a dish once composed exclusively of beans, simply because many Jewish families could not afford the meat.
This Cholent recipe comes to you from The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger.