Hamin (the Sephardic version of Cholent) is a traditional Jewish overnight stew that has been made by Jews around the world for generations, specifically for Shabbat, as they were prohibited from cooking or lighting fires from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.
Although my family didn’t observe Shabbat, my mother would make Hamin every Friday for Saturday during the winter. I occasionally make it when I’m feeling homesick. Despite its humble appearance, it is incredibly comforting. When I make it, my husband and I go crazy from the aroma. Even though both of us not into breakfast, we start indulging in it as soon as we wake up on Saturday morning (at 10 am).
I would recommend making it only on weekends for lunch, as it can be quite heavy (especially if you eat more than one portion). My meat-free version is a bit lighter, but still substantial.
The traditional Moroccan Hamin that I grew up on had beef, marrow bones, eggs, and rice in it. Sometimes I had bone marrows to my hamin when my joints ache.
- If you choose to add bones, use only 3 tablespoons of oil and add about 3 bones when you add the potatoes.
- Remember to soak white beans or garbanzo beans for a minimum of 12 hours before adding to the pot. I like to soak a large quantity of legumes and wheat, drain them, then store in individual ziplock bags in the freezer.
- Wheat berries only need 1 hour of soaking.
- I typically start preparing the Hamin around 6 o’clock in the evening and bake it overnight.
- ¼ cup olive or avocado oil
- 1 large onion - sliced
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 juniper berries or black peppercorns
- 2 large sweet potato - peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 4 medium potatoes - peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups soaked beans or garbanzo
- 1½ cups soaked wheat berry - optional
- 1 large Medjool date - or 2 normal dates or 1 dried prune
- 1 garlic head - top sliced
- 32 fl oz (or 1 liter) vegetable broth, about 6 cups - or water
- Put the oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Fry the onions until translucent, lower the heat to medium if necessary. Add the spices and stir. Add sweet potatoes and potatoes and saute them for 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover the vegetables with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes then lower the heat to low and cook for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Taste the broth and corect seasoning.
- Cover the pot and bake for 3 hours. Check the liquid level – the vegetable and broth should be the same height – then lower the temperature to 250°F or 120°C and bake overnight or minimum 6 hours.
- Before you go to bed check again the liquid level, if necessary add a little bit of water to prevent burning the bottom.