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Hamin

Hamin is the Hebrew word for cholent, and it derives from the word ham for "hot." Some Sephardic communities use this word, as do the Persian and Italian Jews. There are also many versions of hamin; this is an Afghan recipe.
The Jews of Afghanistan have a very economical way of cooking for the Sabbath. This chicken stew is cooked in the bottom of a double earthenware pot; the top part contains fish with tomatoes. You can cook 2 meals at the same time, and the fish is served on Friday night while the stew is offered at midday on Saturday. Use the same technique with a large double boiler or 2 level steamer, covering the holes with foil.
Quinces are large yellow fruits which look like apples but have a much tougher and more sour flesh. The flesh turns an attractive pink when cooked, and is delicious with meat or chicken, or stewed with sugar and cloves as a dessert. Quinces figure prominently in Persian, Afghan, and Kurdish cooking. Dried rosebuds are available from Middle Eastern shops.

ingredients

serves 8
4 tablespoons oil
2 chickens, about 3 pounds each, cut in serving pieces
2 potatoes, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 pound pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
2 large quinces (about 1 pound weight), peeled, cored, and quartered
2 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon rosebuds or petals (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups water

method

1. Pour half the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat.

2. Add the chicken and cook evenly until the flesh is no longer transparent, about 15 minutes. Remove and reserve the chicken.

3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Pour any oil remaining in the skillet plus the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into a large casserole with a tight-fitting lid.

4. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, carrots, and squash to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay the rice on top.

5. Arrange the chicken pieces over rice and place the onion slices and quince pieces around and over chicken. Sprinkle with the spices, seasonings, and rosebuds or petals. Beat the eggs with the water and pour over the contents of the casserole.

6. Bake chicken for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250°F and bake for 8 hours or overnight.

7. Serve with rice at lunch the next day.

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