Like many thick soups, this 3,500-year-old staple of Arabia and North Africa improves when warmed over and eaten the next day-if it lasts that long.
Ask the butcher to cut the ham hocks in half.
Soak the lentils overnight in enough water to cover.
When ready to cook, presoak a clay pot for 15 minutes. Put the lentils in the presoaked clay pot, after draining off and discarding the water, then add the ham hocks and all the other ingredients.
Cover the pot and place in a cold oven.
Set the oven temperature at 450 degrees.
Cook for 1½ to 2 hours.
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