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A Brief History of Slow Cooking

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While the technique of low-and-slow cooking has been around since the 18th century, the slow cooker appliance as we know it today was developed in the 1930s by Jewish inventor Irving Nachumsohn. In eastern Europe during the Sabbath, families often prepared cholent, a traditional Jewish stew made of meat, beans, and vegetables and cooked slowly at a low temperature. However, the Jewish community was prohibited from cooking because of the Sabbath, so they would bring pots of stew to a town bakery the day before observation and slowly cook it using residual heat from the ovens. This led to the advent of the slow cooker.

In January 1940, Nachumsohn obtained the patent for the appliance, which later became known as the Crock-Pot in the 1970s. Since then, the slow cooker has become a staple household appliance that makes delicious, flavorful recipes with minimal effort. With colder weather around the corner, it’s the perfect time to break out your slow cooker and make some quick, warm meals that the whole family will enjoy.

This savory cholent recipe is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day. We recommend pairing it with a side of challah!

Cholent (Jewish Beef and Bean Stew)

Servings: 12


1 ½ pounds red potatoes, halved                                   1 cup onions, diced

2 pounds beef stew meat                                                       ½ cup chickpeas

¼ cup pearl barley                                                                    2 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves                                          ½ tablespoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper                                          ¾ teaspoon paprika

¾ teaspoon turmeric                                                               ½ teaspoon ground cumin

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

STEP 1: Soak chickpeas in water overnight.

STEP 2: Line potatoes in a single layer at the bottom of the slow cooker.

STEP 3: Sprinkle onions over potatoes.

STEP 4: Spread beef evenly over potatoes and onions.

STEP 5: Drain chickpeas and layer over beef. Discard the water.

STEP 6: Add barley evenly over top.

STEP 7: In a bowl, combine chicken broth, garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper; mix well.

STEP 8: Pour broth and spice mixture over the beef. Depending on your slow cooker, add more water as needed until contents are completely covered.

STEP 9: Cook on low heat for 10 hours. Add more water as needed if it becomes too dry.

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