Bulgur Chili


4 servings
This nutritious dish – otherwise known as chili sin carne – can be served plain or topped with grated mozzarella or cheddar. It is a fine vegetarian alternative to chulent.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound white mushrooms, fresh or in a can
1 can (15.5 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes with juices (squeeze tomatoes by
1/2 cup whole grain bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme petals
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and cover. Add
garlic, onion and green pepper. Simmer over low heat until
onion is tender.
Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel, trim ends
as needed and slice. Add to saucepan with remaining ingredients,
plus 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook very slowly,
covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Season to taste.




In a September post, I suggested people were welcome to send me their favorite chulent recipes. I wished to post them altogether and then link to kcc (the Kosher Cooking Carnival) so that they would be included in the next edition. A few people have answered; I’ll post their recipes tomorrow along with a few links.

But first a few explanations about chulent, also spelled cholent.


Max Weinreich traces the etymology of cholent to the Latin present participle calentem, meaning “that which is hot” (as in calorie), via Old French chalant (present participle of chalt, from the verb chaloir, “to warm”). One widely quoted folk etymology, relying on the French pronunciation of cholent or the Central and Western European variants shalent or shalet, derives the word from French chaud (“hot”) and lent (“slow”), but it is categorically rejected by professional linguists. Another folk etymology derives cholent (or sholen) from the Hebrew she’lan, which means “that rested [overnight]”. This refers to the old time cooking process of Jewish families placing their individual pots of cholent into the town baker’s ovens that always stayed hot and slow-cooked the food overnight. (Wikipedia)

This is what the dictionary says:

a Jewish Sabbath dish of slowly baked meat and vegetables, prepared on a Friday and cooked overnight.

About.com has a a longer definition:

Cholent is the quintessential Jewish food. Jewish law prohits lighting a fire and cooking on the Sabbath. So how can an observant Jewish family eat a hot, nourishing meal on the Sabbath? Cholent, a slow-cooked, bean-barley stew, has been the answer for centuries. Legumes are not only suited for slow cooking and nutritious, they are also economical.

If you have time, you can read a longer and more personal article by G. Erdosh on jewishmag.com.