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Shared by Ilanit Israeli Nagar

Moroccan S’china-Hamin (Overnight Shabbat Stew)

Yield: 8 servingsTime: 1 hour + overnight cook time

Shared by Ilanit Israeli Nagar

Large yellow Dutch oven filled with hamin: Russet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, dates, beef marrow bones, wheat berries wrapped in cheesecloth and beef brisket, atop white tablecloth.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Moroccan S’china-Hamin (Overnight Shabbat Stew)

Yield: 8 servingsTime: 1 hour + overnight cook time

Family Journey

Atlas Mountains, MoroccoCasablanca, MoroccoRehovot, Israel
BostonSan Diego

“Food has a magical way of connecting us to our roots and creating cherished memories,” says Ilanit Israeli Nagar, whose grandmother was born in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. When Ilanit craves the comforting flavors of her upbringing, she makes a Moroccan style hamin called s’china (also spelled shkena) for Shabbat. Ilanit’s recipe includes beans and chickpeas, wheat berries, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, delectably tender brisket, and marrow bones. Built on a base of caramelized sugar and flavored with smoked paprika, cumin, and dried chilis, the s’china develops deep flavor during an overnight stint in the oven.

Ilanit likes to experiment with different ways to top her s’china, including with kubaneh dough, in a nod to her husband’s Yemenite heritage. Her grandmother used to top her s’china with ma’amra, a savory cake of ground beef and nuts. You can make the s’china with or without the ma’amra, but it is a wonderful addition. 

As is traditional, Ilanit serves the s’china in bowls, separating each element of the slow-cooked stew post cooking, allowing for each guest to create their own bowl. Alongside the s’china, she serves an array of fresh salads, like spicy carrots, beets, and sliced fennel, providing a much needed fresh counterpoint.

This recipe was shared by Ilanit Israeli Nagar. Read more about her family in “A Moroccan Grandmother’s Hamin Finds Its Way to San Diego.”


  • ¼ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup dried beans, such as kidney or navy, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup raw chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, medium dice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs. beef chuck or brisket 
  • 6 large marrow bones
  • 4-5 medium Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 6-8 hard boiled eggs 
  • 17 garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 3 tablespoons silan (date syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 5 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 2 whole, dried chili peppers, such as Chile de Arbol
  • ¼ cup plump Medjool dates
  • 2 cups wheat berries
  • 2-3 whole cloves
  • Ma’amra, for serving (optional)


  • Step 1

    Caramelize the sugar: Set a 10 quart, oven-safe pot over medium heat and add the sugar to the pot. Let the sugar begin to melt, then gently, using a wooden spoon, push the edges of the sugar into the center, to ensure even melting.

  • Step 2

    Let the sugar caramelize for 4-5 minutes, until it is a medium-brown, amber color and lightly bubbling. Drain the soaked beans and chickpeas, then add to the pot with the caramelized sugar — take care; it will hiss and splatter. Lower the heat and stir, mixing until well combined. Add the diced onion to the pot and mix to combine. Set aside.

  • Step 3

    Pat the meat dry and season generously with salt and pepper on each side. Sear the meat in a large, cast iron pan on high heat, 4-5 minutes per side, until the meat is golden brown, fragrant and the fat has mostly rendered out. Use tongs to remove from the pan and set aside. Add the marrow bones to the pan and lightly brown in the rendered fat, 2-3 minutes. Remove.

  • Step 4

    Place the meat and the marrow bones in the pot, atop the beans and chickpeas. Top with the potatoes and hard boiled eggs. Scatter 15 of the garlic cloves over the mixture, reserving the last two.

  • Step 5

    Add the silan, smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric and chili flakes to 8 cups of water, stirring to combine. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Pour over the beans and meat. Add more water if needed to ensure all ingredients are covered. Add the oil.

  • Step 6

    Add the dried chilis and dates to the pot. Combine the wheat berries and cloves in a cheesecloth, tying a firm knot at the top. Place the cheesecloth bundle in the pot, then cover. If adding, the ma’amra, place it on top.

  • Step 7

    Cook the hamin, covered, on medium-low heat for an hour, then transfer to the oven and cook at 230°F overnight, or for around 8 hours.

  • Step 8

    To serve, ladle the legumes into a large pot. Shred the meat and place it and marrow bones in a bowl. Peel the eggs and transfer to a bowl. Transfer the potatoes and wheat berries to their own respective bowls. If serving with ma’amra, open the foil package and slice the ma’amra into rounds. Let guests prepare their own bowls of hamin, adding elements as they please.