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Fülemüle’s Shalet Cholent

June 21, 2021
Fülemüle’s Shalet Cholent

My mother’s family was one of the last Jewish households to leave Detroit for the suburbs in the white flight of the 1960s. One year on Sukkot, often a chilly holiday in Michigan, the family was huddled in the sukkah on a Friday night, eating bowls of warm cholent, a slow-simmering stew of meat, potatoes, and beans. Suddenly, two men with guns burst in demanding money, an increasingly common occurrence in Detroit at the time. My mother and her family, having no money with them because it was Shabbat and a chag, just stared at the men, unsure of what to do next. As the men stared back, one looked at his companion and said, “I don’t think these people have anything. They’re sitting in a hut eating beans! They’ve got less than we do!” And with that, they left, leaving my mother and her family stunned, grateful, and then laughing at how cholent had saved the day.

Featured in: Saved by Cholent


  • 2cups dried white beans
  • 1large onion, chopped
  • 4tablespoons goose fat (can substitute duck or chicken fat)
  • 1cup pearl barley
  • ¼teaspoon black pepper
  • 2teaspoons mild Hungarian paprika
  • 2goose legs (can substitute duck legs)
  • 1 ½pounds hickory-smoked beef brisket
  • Salt, to taste


  • Step 1

    Soak the beans overnight. Drain.

  • Step 2

    Preheat oven to 275.

  • Step 3

    In large pot, sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the goose fat.

  • Step 4

    Add beans, barley, remaining goose fat, pepper, and paprika to pot. Place goose legs and smoked meat on top.

  • Step 5

    Cover mixture with water, making sure water rises about 2 inches above mixture.

  • Step 6

    Cover pot and place in oven for 7-8 hours. Check periodically to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it looks dry, add water.

  • Step 7

    Taste and add salt as needed—the smoked meat can be very salty.