This Shabbos was the third week of our chulent (a.k.a. cholent) mission. (I'm trying a new recipe every week, as long as my friends continue providing!) This week, we tried another flanken chulent. This one has no beans, but lots of barley, potatoes, and meat. Once again, it was a hit with the kids, especially on Friday when it was a bit less cooked. But I'm beginning to think that my husband and I are so accustomed to my turkey chulent that we're simply not going to find a meat chulent that isn't too heavy for us. The kids are loving this experiment, though. I just may end up making two chulents every week after this is over: a rich meat chulent for the kids, and a lighter turkey version for us.

The jury's still out on the favorite recipe so far. The adults really liked Esther Shemtob's Hamin and the kids are split between this one and Ayala Cohen's. I'll keep at it till we find one that gets unanimously high reviews. Please help me by posting your recipes in the comments section below. If you don't have a real recipe, just list the ingredients and I'll figure the rest out.

Sarah Stampler's Meat Chulent
Sarah's version includes beer and barbecue sauce but a few members of my family wouldn't touch it if they had even the slightest suspicion that the chulent had beer in it. My husband and I are finding the barbecue sauce flavor a bit strong for our tastes. I left those two ingredients out, but feel free to add them in if you like. One last comment: Sarah says that it's really important to cook this chulent in a pot on the stove (with a blech, for Shabbos), and not in a crock pot. I used to be dead set against crock pots, too, but lately I find that the even cooking is really a pleasure. On the stove, it's easy to go wrong if you leave the flame slightly too low or high. So, I'd say that you can feel free to switch this recipe to a crock pot if that's your preference.

2 cups pearl barley
About ten whole garlic cloves
3 Idaho potatoes, cubed
1-2 pounds of flanken
some chopped fresh cilantro (I used just a little bit; I must admit it was scary!)
2 onions chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups very sweet red wine (I used Kedem Cream Malaga)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot, in the order listed above. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low. Leave the chulent simmering on low until Shabbos morning, or until you're ready to eat, at least 24 hours if possible. This chulent is especially good on Friday afternoon / night, too, when it's a bit less cooked. Serve hot.