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Dafina (Morroccan Sabbath Stew)

8 oz (about 1-1/4 cups) dried chick-peas
3 tb Vegetable oil
2 md Onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 Whole cloves garlic
1 lb Beef or veal marrow bones
3 lb Beef brisket, short ribs, or chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
12 md Potatoes (4 to 5 pounds), peeled, or 1/2 cup bulgar (up to 16)
5 Pitted dates or 3 tablespoons honey (up to 6)
1 tb Paprika
1 ts Ground cinnamon
1/4 ts Ground tumeric or 6 saffron threads, crumbled
2 ts Salt, about
Ground black pepper to taste
1 Recipe kouclas (dumplings) see below
6 lg Eggs, in shell (up to 8)

Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain

Heat the oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add, without mixing, the chickpeas, garlic, bones, meat, potatoes or bulgur, dates or honey, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, tumeric or saffron, salt, and pepper. Place the kouclas* (see below) in the center of the dafina, and arrange the eggs around it. Add enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, occasionally skimming the foam, for 1 hour.

Tightly cover the pot, place on a blech (a thin sheet of metal placed over the stove top) over low heat or in a 225-degree oven, and cook overnight. Or transfer to a slow cooker set on low to cook overnight.

Dafina is traditionally separated into different dishes before serving: the chickpeas and cooking liquid in one bowl, the eggs in a second, the potatoes in a third, the meat in a fourth, and the dumpling in a fifth.

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