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MARGARET PROUSE: Take on a new cooking attitude by trying a new technique

Food columnist Margaret Prouse provides a Shakshuka recipe to mix up the weekly cooking routine. The word Shakshuka literally  means “all mixed up” in Hebrew. It is an egg-based dish that is widely served for breakfast in some Middle East countries.
Food columnist Margaret Prouse provides a Shakshuka recipe to mix up the weekly cooking routine. The word Shakshuka literally means “all mixed up” in Hebrew. It is an egg-based dish that is widely served for breakfast in some Middle East countries. - 123RF Stock Photo

I am thinking of my friend who told me last week that she was tired of cooking and needed recipes for dishes she could prepare by putting the ingredients into a slow cooker and forgetting about them until mealtime.

Depending on your tastes, cooking preferences and scheduling there are other options that might be useful.

Braising is cooking a food, often a tough meat, by simmering slowly in liquid. I would speculate that it was braising that inspired someone to invent the slow cooker. You can easily create a flavourful gourmet-style meal of this wine-braised turkey drumstick, to serve with buttered noodles and a salad.

Fran’s Braised Turkey

Sauté one large thigh and leg of turkey in olive oil in a deep-frying pan, with a cover or a heavy casserole, that can be used on the stovetop. Add about 250 mL (1 cup) each of onion and carrot and cook over medium heat until onion becomes soft and translucent.

Add about 175 mL (¾ cup) each of white wine and chicken broth, a few crushed garlic cloves and some sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the turkey is very tender. Place the turkey on a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep it warm.

Increase the heat and reduce slightly (concentrate by evaporating some of the liquid). Thicken by stirring in some cream; reduce heat and cook until it reaches the desired thickness.

Remove the turkey from the bones and return the meat to the sauce.

2–4 servings.

Worries about kitchen explosions are all but eliminated since the introduction of updated pressure cookers and, as a result, pressure cooking has risen to popularity again. Instead of starting early and leaving food in a slow cooker for the day, you can cook foods such as meats and soups in an electric multicooker or a modern stovetop pressure cooker to more quickly produce tender and tasty meals. There are numerous recipes in cookbooks and online.

In the interest of producing quick and easy meals, it is a good idea to always keep eggs in the fridge. Besides being inexpensive and packed with protein, they are versatile. Unlike long, slow-cooked dishes egg dishes are quick to prepare and cook. Omelettes or breakfast style bacon and eggs can make a quick and easy meal when you feel like keeping the cooking simple.

Toast a slice of your favourite bread and cut an orange into wedges to add to the plate and dinner’s ready. You are, however, not limited to what we consider traditional breakfast dishes when cooking with eggs.

The word Shakshuka means “all mixed up” in Hebrew. It is an egg-based dish that is widely served for breakfast in some Middle East countries. I picked up this recipe at the P.E.I. Provincial Home Show last weekend and you can find several other Shakshuka recipes at eggs.ca.

Shakshuka Dinner

Adapted from eggs.ca

  • 45 mL (3 tbsp) olive oil 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 red pepper, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 45 mL (3 tbsp) tomato paste 
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) ground cumin 
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) ground coriander 
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) smoked paprika 
  • 2 mL (½ tsp) salt 
  • 1 mL (¼ tsp) cinnamon 
  • 1 mL (¼ tsp) hot pepper flakes 
  • 1 mL (¼ tsp) freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL/28 oz) 
  • 8 eggs 
  • 60 mL (¼ cup) finely crumbled feta cheese 
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley 
  • 4 Greek-style pitas (18 cm/7 inch), toasted 

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). In large ovenproof high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, salt, cinnamon, hot pepper flakes and pepper, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften and tomato paste is deep red and very fragrant, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. 

Add diced tomatoes to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, approximately 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Using a spoon, make eight divots in the sauce mixture; crack an egg into each divot. 

Baste each egg with a little of the tomato sauce; transfer to oven. Bake until eggs are soft boiled or cooked to desired doneness, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with feta and parsley. Serve with pita bread. 

Makes 4 servings


Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by email at islandgusto@gmail.com.

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