March 1, 2016


Kishke likes to spread out in the hot-tub, making
everybody pretty uncomfortable
There's a traditional dish that people of the Jewish persuasion have historically eaten on the Sabbath. It's called Cholent, and essentially is a thick stew that cooks for ever and ever until your apartment smells incredible. But you can't eat it yet, because it's 3 AM, and you have guests coming tomorrow for lunch. So it sits there, taunting you as you count down the hours until you can finally eat it. Your guests arrive (probably at least 9 hours later, unless you're hosting some super weird night-lunches like a serial killer), and you pretty much dispense with pleasantries. Or conversation. Or waiting for them to get in the door. You saw them walking up, that's good enough. It's time to eat! Preferably all in one go because for some reason, no matter how good it is, it always tastes terrible reheated. So find, kidnap, or rent some friends and family members for this one. Because we're eating a giant pot of awesomeness, in its entirety. Or else we're suffering the sophie's choice of throwing out perfectly good food, or eating a terrible reheated mess that'll only serve to remind you how incredible it was when you made it, and how much it isn't that now. In the spirit of all vaguely traditional vaguely ethnic cuisine, to be truly authentic your recipe has to have some pedigree. I adapted mine from my mother, who I'm pretty sure made it up on her own. And now it's, at least to some degree, yours. That's 3 levels of being passed down. If it doesn't taste authentic enough, pass along the recipe to somebody else real quick to give it a boost.


1 lb Beef Shank
4 standard issue White Potatoes
1 standard issue Onion
1 Cup Barley
1 24 oz. jar of Marinara
1 tsp Salt (For those of you unfamiliar with how meat becomes Kosher, part of the process is slathering it in salt. Some butchers/brands' final products are salty, some aren't. If you're using Kosher meat, use your best judgement. Then frantically adjust the seasoning when your guests arrive and you finally taste your food and discover your mistake, despite the fact that we both know it's kinda too late)
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 entire Kishke
An unspecified amount of Water
An awesome kitchen gadget that modern technology tries hard to ruin 

The first thing you're gonna need to do is find or steal a Crock Pot. Or slow cooker. Or whatever. When browsing through your local mega-mart or neighbors' houses, don't be fooled by fancy expensive slow cookers. They have digital displays, and whistles, and bells, and hooks, and timers, and they pretty much always suck. Badly. For my money, the super cheap ones with one pot, one knob, and a whole lot of sucking it up and being a man, are the best option. They give you a couple different temperature settings, and they do their very simple job very well. Once you've "acquired" an acceptable cooking vessel, it's time to throw everything inside of it. That's pretty much it. Choppity chop the onion into itty bits, and regularly chop the potatoes into larger, recognizably potato-ish, chunks. And toss them in the pot along with your barley, spices, and marinara. Then add in water until the whole mess is just barely covered. Stir it all together, and lay your Kishke (link repeated for those too lazy to click the first time) right across the top, like a sloppy drunk collapsed in an air duct.

What it lacks in variety of color, it more than makes up
for in sheer unrelenting awesome
Now it's time to turn your slow cooker on to the Low setting, cover it, and leave it for a LONG time. Like 24 hours long. Your patience will be rewarded. For those of you who started cooking before reading all the way down here, well you're in a hard situation. But, if you turn it on High for about 6 hours, and then turn it to Low for another 2, you should get a reasonably awesome result. Take the lid off of it, and just kind of bask in the warmth and deliciousness of it all. Stir everything together into the most delicious glop ever, and then serve it immediately to the friends and family you coerced a couple paragraphs ago. This is a whole pot of food. There will be leftovers. This cannot stand. You'll be on a crazy high from delicious food. You'll be doubting the warnings I gave you about trying to reheat it, and the ensuing crappiness. You will pay for your mistrust 1000 times over. Don't be that guy. Your only option is to splork the rest of it down your gullet. Bonus points if your guests haven't left yet, and they watch you with an odd mix of revulsion and intense fascination.

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