Shabbat stews are some of the best Jewish comfort foods. Besides for the nice symbolic concept, the homeyness they evoke and the irresistible aromas coming from the oven on Shabbat morning, there’s the unbeatable relationship between fat and overnight cooking, that helps any potato, bean or meat you put in your large, heavy pot come out the next day brown, caramelized, tender and comfortingly delicious.
I discussed here before some of the well known Shabbat overnight stews, such as the Jerusalem hamin, the Iraqi tbeet and the Yemenite jachnoon and kubaneh. This recipe is for a simple Israeli-Sephardi macaroni hamin of chicken and noodles. Just imagine the noodles cooking slowly in chicken fat and absorbing all the goodness. Health food this is not, but it is one hundred percent comforting.
1 lb. bucatini or thick spaghetti
3 lb. chicken thighs or drumsticks, bones in, skin on
1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 golden potatoes, peeled, sliced to ¾ inch slices
1. Oven to 200 degrees.
2. Cook bucatini in salted water according to package instructions, drain, keep in a bowl.
3. Generously salt and pepper chicken. Put oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown chicken on both sides to a nice golden-brown color. You may need to do it in two batches. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Add onion to pot and sauté for about 6 minutes, scraping the bottom of pot to release all the good flavor. Add tomato paste and spices to onion, stir and cook for another minute. Remove pot from heat, pour onion and fat on cooked bucatini, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and mix well.
4. Line bottom of pot with potato slices, sprinkle with salt. Top with about ¾ of the bucatini, pressing them down. Arrange chicken on the noodles, arranging eggs between them, and top with the rest of the bucatini. Add ½ cup boiling water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil (make sure the aluminum foil does not touch the noodles. If it does, first line the noodles with parchment paper and only then with the foil). Then cover with lid. Bake overnight or for 6-8 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.