Adafina (cholent) | Patricia Fernandez Kelly


Quantities are suggested, but left up to individual preferences.

Half an organic chicken, quartered

1 grass-fed lamb shank

1 piece of grass-fed beef chuck meat, in one piece (about 1 pound)

4 organic beef marrowbones

organic, pasteurized eggs


2 onions with 1 clove stuck to each

6 carrots

4 celery stalks

several sprigs fresh cilantro or parsley

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds, or to taste

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or to taste

½ teaspoon dried cilantro, or to taste

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

fresh spinach leaves or chard

If adding meatballs:

1 pound organic ground beef or a mixture or beef and chicken

2 minced garlic cloves or to taste

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 egg


1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 175°.

Combine the meatball ingredients using your hands.

Form meatballs. Roll them in flour and brown them in olive oil. Set aside.

In a wide heavy casserole dish, combine all the other ingredients, first arranging the meats and then adding the chickpeas, spices, herbs, vegetables and eggs. Add water to generously cover the ingredients.

Bring to a boil on the stove. Cover and put into a preheated oven. Cook for 12-15 hours.

At the end of the cooking period or before you retire for the night, add the spinach or chard.

Serve in individual bowls, placing a piece of each ingredient in each bowl and adding some of the delicious broth. Be ready for the raves!

What makes it special?

Adafina is the Sephardic equivalent of Cholent, the Sabbath Stew.  It is, in my humble opinion, the mother of all comfort foods.  It is also an answer to God’s challenge:  to observe a day of complete rest followed by a warm, lavish repast.  All the ingredients are mixed before sundown and simmered between 8 and 12 hours, then consumed in a climate of love and gratitude. Is that a magnificent story?  Yes, it is!  And a blueprint for a fulfilling life.

Also, while they are cooking, all those meats, garbanzo beans, and spices fill the home with a lovely fragrance – divine.

What’s Your Connection to Princeton?

Professor of Sociology, Princeton University

Recipe shared by Patricia Fernandez Kelly 

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