Liora Bleiberg's Jerusalem Chamin. Photography: Ksenia Prints
Liora Bleiberg's Jerusalem Chamin. Photography: Ksenia Prints
Recipe

Jerusalem Chamin

A Jerusalem-style chamin recipe typical of Spanish Jews with each ingredient served separately. With some additions inspired by chamin in Be'er Sheva

The recipe for Jerusalem chamin is one I received and added to my old family recipe book, which contains all sorts of recipes but with inaccurate instructions since they were written by all sorts of elderly aunts who cooked by feel and “hand”. Therefore, to this day it is difficult to give an exact recipe.

Note that the quantities of the ingredients can be changed according to your preference. When serving, each of the ingredients is put on a separate plate such as chicken, meat and each side dish separately. That’s why the order of putting things in the pot is important, since at the end of cooking only the legumes have liquid, and everything else is “dry”.

Note: for the “kishkeh” you will need cheesecloth. The chamin should be cooked in a tall, wide pot the largest and most “industrial” you have.

The recipe for Jerusalem chamin is from my grandmother Leonora Ibn Ezra (grandmother “Nona”), my father’s mother. Leonora was born in Izmir, a woman of literal weight, speaks 7 languages, is a wonderful cook and an even better story teller. Leonora Kahana is the head of a Sephardic women’s organization (completely Sephardic) called “Daughters of Jerusalem”. She taught me several recipes, including her famous chamin.

The Ibn-Ezra Family, family picture
Family picture of the Ibn-Ezra’s. A Jerusalem family of which I am of the 9th generation born there. I am the little girl at the bottom of the picture.

Ingredients for Jerusalem Chamin

  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) dried beans and dried chickpeas (mixed together, soaked overnight)
  • 1 small box + 2 tablespoons tomato paste separated
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons oil separated
  • 2.2-3.3 pounds (1-1.5 kilograms) beef Foreshank or neck meat
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 bones knee
  • hard boiled eggs according to the number of diners and if there is no more room in the pot, half an egg per diner (prepare in advance)
  • 1½ cups wheat
  • 6-7 potatoes small, or cut up from large potatoes
  • 1 heads of garlic unpeeled, but separated into individual cloves
  • 1½ cups rice

For the kishkeh:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) margarine melted
  • a little Salt

Instructions

Prepare the beans:

  • 1. Put the chickpeas and beans in the pot. Cover with water and cook until boiling. Drain and replace water (repeat this 3 times, they say it helps reduce gas). Drain.

  • 2. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste + 2 tablespoons of oil + salt and pepper to the drained beans and mix.

Add the meat:

  • 3. Place the meat, the whole chicken, and the bones on top of the beans and arrange the hard-boiled eggs we prepared around.

Prepare the kishkeh:

  • 4. In a bowl, mix the flour, melted margarine and a little salt.

  • 5. Moisten the cheesecloth and put the batter in it. Close well (with a rubber band if possible) and place next to the meat on the eggs (it should be completely covered with water).

The Moroccan side dish that I learned in the south and added to the Jerusalem chamin:

  • 6. Put wheat, 1/2 cup of oil, 2 cups of water (for every 1 cup of wheat, add ¼ cup of water), a teaspoon of salt, harissa to taste, and the head of garlic, unpeeled but separated into cloves, into a double cookie bag. Mix everything and close well. Place on top of the meat and the "kishkeh".

  • 7. Add the peeled potatoes on top of all the other ingredients.

  • 8. Fill the pot with water until it covers all the ingredients. Add salt and black pepper as well as tomato paste (with a huge pot like this I put 1 small container of tomato paste).

Cook:

  • 9. Bring the pot to a boil and then cover it well, you can place a towel over the lid and cook overnight + half a day on the lowest heat possible. You can also bake in the oven at 212F (100C) degrees overnight (of course without the towel), or on an electric plate on low heat overnight.

  • 10.

Prepare the rice:

  • 11. In the morning, open the pot and remove liquid from it to prepare the rice (at my grandmother's, the rice was also cooked in a cloth in the broth, but I don't have room in the pot and it is quite close in taste with the help of the liquid). Add water, 2 tablespoons of oil and a little tomato paste to the rice and cook like any other rice when close to serving the chamin.  

To serve:

  • 12. When serving, each ingredient is served on a separate plate such as chicken, meat and each side dish separately.

    חמין ירושלמי של ליאורה בלייברג, צילום ע״י קסניה פרינץ
    חמין ירושלמי של ליאורה בלייברג, צילום ע״י קסניה פרינץ
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