Jew­ish Slow Cook­er: Recipes

  • Review
By – September 13, 2011

Lau­ra Frankel, the exec­u­tive chef of Wolf­gang Puck’s restau­rant in the (Jew­ish) Sper­tus Muse­um in Chica­go, calls her slow cook­er her Shab­bat mir­a­cle machine.” The busy per­son will make the cook­er a close friend at any time of day or night, Shab­bat or not.

Unique and delec­table dish­es along with inspir­ing menus ener­gize one to read the book and start slow cook­ing.” The Sab­bath Cholent with Kishke is a mouth-water­ing dish in the East­ern Euro­pean tra­di­tion; equal­ly tempt­ing is the Moroc­can equiv­a­lent, Dafi­na with Moroc­can Rice Dumpling. The home chef is guid­ed with a sure hand in prepar­ing scrump­tious desserts such as the unusu­al and world-span­ning Choco­late-Ancho Chile Pud­ding Cake with Sparkling Sabay­on, or sauces such as the tangy Latin-inspired Mole Poblano. Yes, the kosher cook should go ahead and buy a few long last­ing slow cook­ers or inserts. It will be well worth the expense. 

Through the years, I have pre­pared dish­es overnight in my oven, which I call cook­ing while you sleep.” Now I want to try Lau­ra Frankel’s Veg­e­tar­i­an Chili, Chick­en with Rice, Sene­galese Peanut Soup, Mashed Sweet Pota­toes, Sim­ple Grits, and Lamb Tagine among oth­er fas­ci­nat­ing offer­ings. 

Lau­ra Frankel holds your hand in the more com­pli­cat­ed recipes and guides you with her knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence. The Jew­ish Slow Cook­er will bring out the dor­mant 5‑star chef in you.

Recipe: Rubbed Brisket

Makes 10 Servings

Brisket is so tra­di­tion­al — how can you improve upon it? My friend Julia makes brisket rubbed with spices, wrapped in foil, and slow­ly cooked in the oven. She swears that the spice-infused meat stays plump and juicy and keeps its hearty tex­ture. Inspired by her tech­nique, I decid­ed to adapt her method for the slow cooker.

Boy, was she right! The fat melts into the meat and drips off. The bed of veg­eta­bles keeps the meat from sit­ting in the fat, and the fla­vors of the rub pen­e­trate the meat and give it a pun­gent, lip-smack­ing fla­vor. To real­ly put this over the top, I cut the cooked brisket into large chunks, toss it with my Root Beer BBQ Sauce, pile it on crusty rolls, and top it with creamy coleslaw. So messy and so good.

The brisket can be made 3 days ahead of serv­ing and stored, cov­ered, in the refrig­er­a­tor, or frozen for up to 1 month. To reheat gen­tly, pre­heat the oven to 300°F. Place the brisket and strained drip­pings or bar­be­cue sauce in a casse­role and cov­er. Reheat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

2 table­spoons dry mus­tard
2 table­spoons dried thyme
2 table­spoons Ancho Chile Pow­der
1 table­spoon ground corian­der
1 table­spoon pimen­ton (see Note), prefer­ably hot
1 tea­spoon ground cumin
2 tea­spoons ground anise seed
1 table­spoon ground gin­ger
1/4 cup light brown sug­ar
One 5‑pound first-cut brisket
Kosher salt and fresh­ly ground black pep­per
Olive oil
2 large Span­ish onions, diced
3 medi­um car­rots, peeled and diced
3 cel­ery stalks, diced
1 head of gar­lic, unpeeled, cut in half hor­i­zon­tal­ly

Sug­gest­ed Garnishes

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

1. Pre­heat a 6 1/​2‑quart slow cook­er to Low. Com­bine the dry mus­tard, thyme, ancho chile pow­der, corian­der, pimen­ton, cumin, anise, gin­ger, and brown sug­ar in a small bowl.

2. Salt and pep­per the brisket on both sides. Rub the brisket with a lit­tle olive oil. Gen­er­ous­ly coat the brisket on both sides with the rub.

3. Place the onions, car­rots, cel­ery, and gar­lic in the slow cook­er insert. Lay the brisket, fat side up, on top of the veg­eta­bles. Cov­er and cook on Low for 8 hours.

4. Trans­fer the brisket to a cut­ting board or plat­ter, cov­er loose­ly, and let it cool com­plete­ly before slicing.

5. Strain the drip­pings through a fine-mesh strain­er into a stor­age con­tain­er. Dis­card the veg­eta­bles. Cov­er and refrig­er­ate until the fat ris­es to the top and hard­ens. Remove and dis­card the fat. The broth can be served, heat­ed, as a sauce with the sliced brisket. Serve with Root Beer BBQ Sauce, if you like.


Pimen­ton is a Span­ish smoked papri­ka. It is real­ly not com­pa­ra­ble to the papri­ka found in most gro­cery stores. It may be sweet or hot, and has a won­der­ful smok­i­ness essen­tial to pael­la, chori­zo, and oth­er Span­ish del­i­ca­cies. Pimen­ton can be found read­i­ly online or at spe­cial­ty markets.

Reprint­ed with per­mis­sion from Jew­ish Slow Cook­er Recipes by Lau­ra Frankel, Agate Sur­rey, 2015.

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Makes 3 Cups

I will often go out of my way for a mug of cold, bub­bly root beer. So why not a BBQ sauce that sings with the earthy spice that I love? This is my ver­sion of the region­al Amer­i­can sauce. I use it on chick­en, short ribs, and brisket.

You can store this sauce, cov­ered, in the refrig­er­a­tor for up to 1 week, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

2 cups root beer such as Virgil’s (don’t use diet root beer)
1 cup ketchup, prefer­ably Heinz
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup bour­bon or apple cider for a non­al­co­holic sauce
1/2 cup crum­bled gin­ger­snaps (about 8 small cook­ies; store-bought are fine)
11/2 table­spoons dark brown sug­ar
1 table­spoon light molasses
1/2 tea­spoon minced lemon zest
1/2 tea­spoon cayenne pep­per (option­al)
1/2 tea­spoon ground gin­ger
2 gar­lic cloves, grat­ed with a Microplane
1 medi­um onion, grat­ed with a Microplane or on the fine side of a box grater
2 tea­spoons kosher salt

1 table­spoon fresh­ly ground black pepper

Place all of the ingre­di­ents in a slow cook­er insert. Cov­er and cook on High for 6 hours. Adjust the salt and pep­per to taste. Serve or store.

Reprint­ed with per­mis­sion from Jew­ish Slow Cook­er Recipes by Lau­ra Frankel, Agate Sur­rey, 2015.

Recipe: Gar­licky Pot Roast

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Some­thing mag­i­cal seems to hap­pen when this dish cooks for a long time — the meat becomes fra­grant and the gar­lic becomes caramelized and sweet. The gravy” that results is so deli­cious that I often find one of my kids hang­ing around the kitchen with bread in hand to sop it up. The addi­tion of the gin­ger­snaps to the dish might seem odd, but they add a lot of fla­vor and help thick­en the gravy.

The roast can be stored, cov­ered, in the refrig­er­a­tor for 3 days, or frozen for 1 month. To reheat the pot roast, place the meat and gravy in a saucepan. Add enough chick­en stock to moist­en the meat, usu­al­ly only about 14 cup. Cov­er and cook on low heat until heat­ed through.

For the Mari­nade

3 table­spoons chopped gar­lic (about 4 large cloves)
14 cup light brown sug­ar
14 cup olive oil, plus extra for brown­ing the roast
12 cup bal­sam­ic vine­gar
2 table­spoons toma­to paste
Kosher salt and fresh­ly ground black pep­per
One 3- to 5‑pound chuck roast, fat trimmed
Olive oil

For the Sauce

2 large Span­ish onions, chopped
6 gar­lic cloves, chopped
1 cup dark beer such as Guin­ness or Aventi­nus
1 whole head of Roast­ed Gar­lic
2 cups chick­en stock
1 cup crum­bled gin­ger­snaps (about 15 small cook­ies;
store-bought are fine)
14 cup toma­to paste

Sug­gest­ed accom­pa­ni­ments

grits, mashed pota­toes

1. Mar­i­nate the Roast: In a bowl large enough to hold the roast, stir togeth­er the chopped gar­lic, brown sug­ar, olive oil, vine­gar, toma­to paste, and 1 table­spoon each salt and pep­per. Add the roast and turn it to coat on all sides. Cov­er the bowl and mar­i­nate for at least 3 hours, or overnight in the refrig­er­a­tor.

2. Place a large sauté pan over medi­um heat. Light­ly coat the bot­tom of the pan with olive oil. Remove the roast from the mari­nade and pat dry. Dis­card the mari­nade. Light­ly sea­son the roast with salt and pep­per. Brown the meat on all sides, about 7 min­utes per side. Set aside the roast but do not clean the pan. 

3. Pre­heat a 6 12‑quart slow cook­er to High. 

4. Make the Sauce: Add the onions to the sauté pan and cook until brown, 3 to 5 min­utes. Add the chopped gar­lic and cook for 2 to 3 min­utes more, until the gar­lic is very fra­grant and has soft­ened slight­ly; do not let the gar­lic brown. Add the beer. Scrape up the browned bits with a wood­en spoon or spat­u­la. Trans­fer the mix­ture to the slow cook­er insert. 

5. Place the roast and any col­lect­ed juices in the insert. Squeeze the roast­ed gar­lic out of the skin and into the insert. Add the stock, gin­ger­snaps, and toma­to paste. Stir togeth­er. Cov­er and cook the roast on High for 7 to 8 hours, until it can be pierced eas­i­ly with a fork. 

6. Remove the roast from the cook­er and keep warm. Strain the sauce before serv­ing. Cut the roast into large chunks and serve hot with your choice of accom­pa­ni­ment. Pass the sauce.

From Jew­ish Slow Cook­er, Lau­ra Frankel, pub­lished by Wiley.

Danièle Gor­lin Lass­ner (wife, moth­er, grand­moth­er) retired after 35 years at Ramaz where she served as Dean of Admis­sions, For­eign Lan­guage Depart­ment chair and teacher of French and Span­ish. She owns hun­dreds of cook­books. She has trans­lat­ed sev­er­al chil­dren’s books from French into Eng­lish. She has recent­ly trans­lat­ed “ A Mem­oir of Sanc­ti­ty “ by May­er Moskowitz (Mazo Pub­lish­ers, Jerusalem, Israel) from Hebrew into Eng­lish. No mat­ter the lan­guage, food is a con­stant.”

Discussion Questions