Stew, Moroccan Sabbath: Dafina - meat
Posted by : Ruth Heiges
Amazing as it may sound, possibly every slow-cooking dish
made with beans derived from the practice of Orthodox Jews
who, not being allowed to kindle fires on the sabbath, would
leave a real low oven going and let their food cook
overnight. Even the Pilgrims took on this practice prior to
sailing to the New World. The substitutions they later had
to make in ingredients resulted in Boston baked beans.
When the Sephardic/Spanish Jews were expelled from Spain by
the Inquisition in 1492, many made their way across the
Straits of Gibraltar to northwestern Africa. Adjusting
ingredients for available products, what we refer to as
cholent and they referred to as _hamin_ became _dafina_ in
Morocco. The word comes from the Arabic, dafina/adafina,
meaning "covered." Typical of any Sephardic stew of this
sort is the inclusion of _huevos haminados_-- eggs which
have become hardboiled and brown by being included in the
stew. The gravy permeates the porous eggshell, turning the
egg brown and imparting an extraordinary flavor.
Dafina - Moroccan Sabbath Stew
6 to 8 servings
8 oz. (about 1-1/4 cups) dried chickpeas
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 whole cloves garlic
1 pound beef or veal marrow bones
3 pounds beef brisket, short ribs, or chuck roast,
cut into 4 pieces
12 to 16 medium potatoes (4 to 5 pounds), peeled,
OR 1/2 cup bulgur
5 to 6 pitted dates OR 3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
OR 6 saffron threads, crumbled
About 2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1 recipe kouclas (dumpling, 2 options below)
6 to 8 large eggs, in shell
1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain.
2. Heat the oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot over medium eat. Add
the onions and saute' until soft and translucent, 5 to 10
3. Add, without mixing, the chickpeas, garlic, bones, meat,
potatoes or bulgur, dates or honey, paprika, cumin, cinnamon,
turmeric or saffron, salt, and pepper. Place the _kouclas_
in the center of the _dafina_ and arrange the eggs around it.
Add enough water to cover.
4. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low,
and simmer, occasionally skimming the foam, for 1 hour.
5. Tightly cover the pot, place on a _blech_ (a thin sheet
of metal placed over the stove top) over low heat or in a
225-degree oven, and cook overnight. Or transfer to a slow
crock-type cooker set on low to cook overnight.
6. _Dafina_ is traditionally separated into different dishes
before serving: the chickpeas and cooking liquid in one bowl,
the eggs in a second, the potatoes in a third, the meat in a
fourth, and the dumpling in a fifth.
Kouclas bi Khobz - Moroccan Bread Dumpling
1 cup bread crumbs
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients. Wrap loosely in a piece of
cheesecloth or aluminum foil and tie securely.
Kouclas bi Ruz - Moroccan Rice Dumpling
1 cup rice
4 ounces ground lamb or beef
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients. Wrap loosely in a piece of
cheesecloth and tie securely.
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