A Green Shakshuka (of Sorts)

This is a great catch-all dish – perfect for using up leftovers or veg that’s on its last legs and just FULL of goodness. Really filling too thanks to the potatoes and eggs – it really does have everything. I was inspired by a recipe  I spotted in the Good Housekeeping magazine I browsed through at the hairdressers on Saturday, but didn’t take a pic of, so had to make do with what I could find when I got home. The hairdressers’ trip was quite a momentous one in many ways. I went from being grey for the last five years to full on, platinum blonde. Time for a change and a bit of a lift and all that. Quite happy with the results. For now anyway.

Mum has issued me with a bit of a challenge (or threat if I’m being completely accurate). I have to get through a blog post without swearing. Apparently last week I used unladylike words to describe my posterior and also what comes out of it (sorry – bit graphic). It seems these words are unacceptable to my lovely mother, who believes that I, at the ripe old age of 50, shouldn’t be using such words in print. Or in her presence. It seems she of the quick temper is entitled to use such words (when I annoy her, which is remarkably regularly), but I, her child, am not. Personally, I felt the words I used were very mild, but I appreciate it can be a matter of opinion. So. I googled it and would you believe, OfCom has surveyed people and ranked every British swear word in terms of offensiveness. The two I used were (as I suspected) very much at the milder end of the spectrum – ae being designated as ‘milder’ – generally of little concern (except to my mother it seems!) and st being viewed as ‘medium’ – potentially unacceptable pre-watershed, but acceptable post-watershed. I’d include a link here, but the lists really do include some rather pupil-widening words and I’m afraid my mother would disapprove in the strongest terms, so I daren’t. Just google ‘what words count as swear words’ and you’ll no doubt find it if you’re interested.

Anyway, back to the Shakshuka. I know it’s traditionally a spicy tomatoey dish with peppers and eggs and this one has no tomato and no peppers, so perhaps I’ve overstepped the mark calling it Shakshuka, but hey, it’s a great word and I really wanted to use it! I do love middle eastern-inspired foods and can imagine n umerous variations on this. Feel free to substitute or change anything in the list below if you don’t have it or don’t like it.

Serves 4   |  20 mins prep plus 40 mins cooking

Ingredients

  • 12-15 small baby potatoes cleaned and sliced in three
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • one large courgette, roughly diced
  • one  aubergine, roughly diced
  • 250g bag kale, picked through and tough stems removed
  • small head of broccoli cut into florets and par-boiled for 3 mins
  • 6 eggs
  • small handful each of coriander and mint. finely chopped
  • dried chilli or chilli flakes
Prepping the ingredients before you start really helps

Method

  1. Start by slicing the potatoes and par boiling for about 6-7 minutes so they are just tender. When done, drain and rinse in cold water so they stop cooking.
  2. At the same time, place the diced aubergine and courgette in a colander, sprinkle with salt and put a weighted bowl on top to draw out the bitter juices while you cook the onions.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan (ideally one with a lid) and gently fry the onion slices for about 20 mins so they’re nicely caramelized, but not too brown.
  4. Add the cumin seeds, garlic and ginger and fry for another 3-4 minutes, then add the drained potatoes.
  5. Keep everything moving for at least 10 mins to let the potatoes start to get nice and golden, then add the rinsed and drained courgette and aubergine to the pan.
  6. Cook everything through thoroughly and at this point, put the kale into a large pan, cover with boiling water and drain after a couple of minutes, then add to the pan, stirring frequently.
  7. The last vegetable to add is the par-boiled broccoli. Heat it all thoroughly and season generously at this point with salt and freshly milled pepper.
  8. Now make small indentations in the pan and crack an egg into each – as evenly spaced as you can.
  9. If you can, put on a lid at this point and cook for about 10 mins on a low heat. If your pan has no lid (mine didn’t), you can resort to putting it under a hot grill for 5 mins or so until the eggs are almost set.
  10. To serve, sprinkle with the chopped coriander, mint and chilli flakes.

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