This Tu Bishvat, Plant Some Chestnut and Farro Hamin in Your Belly

This dish was part of the Sephardi holiday table and usually included dates and figs, apricots, almonds and nuts.

Some Sephardi families in the communities of Jerusalem, Izmir and Salonica (Thessaloniki), used to serve a wheat hamin, the Shabbat overnight stew, for Tu Bishvat. The hamin was part of the Tu Bishvat table, that usually included dates and figs, apricots, almonds and nuts. And since wheat is one of the seven species of the land of Israel, cooking the hamin with wheat was another way of presenting the bounty of fruits and grains that Israel was blessed with.

Inspired by this idea, I decided to add another member of the seven species to the pot, dates. I replaced the wheat grains with farro, which is an grain of an Italian wheat species. I also added chestnuts, which I’ve found in an old Sephardi recipe from Turkey.

The result was as deep brown, flavorful, silky and comforting as any hamin should be. And its just in time for this coming snowy Tu Bishvat weekend.

Farro is available at Italian grocery stores, and at chains including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Shelled roasted chestnuts are available mainly during winter time in supermarkets like Whole Foods and Costco.


Ingredients (Serves 4):
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large marrow bones, about 1 lb.
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
9 oz. farro
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
0.5 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
3 pitted dates, in quarters
6 oz. shelled roasted chestnuts
4 cups of water

Directions:
1. Oven to 200 degrees.
2. Use a 4 qt heavy bottom ovenproof pot of about 8” diameter. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat and brown the marrow bones on both sides. Remove bones from the pot and keep in a plate. Add onion to the same pot and sauté until golden-brown.
3. Add farro to the pot with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, dates and chestnuts. Mix well. Push marrow bones into the farro mixture and cover with 4 cups of water. The water level should be about 1/2”-1” over the farro”. Bring to boil.
4. When the water boils, remove from the heat. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and then with the lid. Put in the oven for 8 hours or for the night. Serve hot.

Vered Guttman