Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shakshouka with Turkey Meatballs

 SHAKSHOUKA W/ TURKEY MEATBALLS

I know...another savory breakfast dish with egg.  And, another internet fad, to boot!  Shakshouka seems to be all over the food blogosphere lately, so if you haven't tried it yet now is your chance.  I have no idea if this is an "authentic" shakshouka recipe, it's just something I made up based on pictures and my knowledge of Middle Eastern/North African spice mixes.  Shakshouka or not, it's extremely delicious (for any meal of the day).

It just so happens that I had a lot of time over the last few weeks to make breakfast.  Given I had the standard two weeks of vacation from teaching, plus an additional two "snow" days to follow, my muscles have barely done any work in 2014. Now, before you get all political on me and charge teachers for being lazy, I did also write an entire 25-page term thesis on the impacts of post-Solonic democratization in Classical Athens on Hellenic gender construction.  Turns out, the birth of democracy really sucked for women.  Anyways, it was nice to have a flexible schedule to read, write, and cook delicious shakshouka.

This version, has lean turkey meatballs packed with chickpeas and tahini, to bind the meatballs without adding any breadcrumbs.  A great thing I realized about this recipe is that the flavors get better the next day, so you can make the meatballs and tomato beforehand, and then reheat and add an egg when you're ready to consume.  It was delicious over creamy polenta, but can definitely hold its own if you're avoiding grains/carbs.  Vegetarian versions seem like they would be tasty and ridiculously easy - just replace the meatballs with seared eggplant for a delicious alternative. 



Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice 
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, plus squeeze of lemon juice for garnish
  • 2 roma/plum tomatoes, large dice
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • optional: 1 cup polenta

Mix together the ground turkey, chickpeas, onion, garlic, chopped parsley, tahini, spices, and lemon zest.  As you mix, crush the garbanzo beans.  Form into 2"-3" meatballs.
Brown the meatballs in an oiled pan over high heat.  The goal is to add a crust to the meatballs, but no need to cook them through right now.  Turn every few minutes so brown all sides.
Turn down to medium-high heat and add the roma tomatoes.  Allow to soften for a few minutes, and then add the canned tomatoes (ripping them apart as you add them) and chicken stock.  This should almost completely cover the meatballs.  Bring to a simmer, and then partially cover and allow to cook/reduce for about 20-30 minutes.
When it is ready for serving, crack eggs over the meatballs (making sure not to break the yolks).  Cover again and cook until the eggs are poached, with a runny yolk.
Serve as is, topped with chopped parsley and a spritz of lemon juice, or over a serving of creamy polenta.
Quick step-by-step reference:
  1. Mix together the ground turkey, chickpeas, onion, garlic, chopped parsley, tahini, spices, and lemon zest.  As you mix, crush the garbanzo beans.  Form into 2"-3" meatballs.
  2. Brown the meatballs in an oiled pan over high heat.  The goal is to add a crust to the meatballs, but no need to cook them through right now.  Turn every few minutes so brown all sides.
  3. Turn down to medium-high heat and add the roma tomatoes.  Allow to soften for a few minutes, and then add the canned tomatoes (ripping them apart as you add them) and chicken stock.  This should almost completely cover the meatballs.  Bring to a simmer, and then partially cover and allow to cook/reduce for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. When it is ready for serving, crack eggs over the meatballs (making sure not to break the yolks).  Cover again and cook until the eggs are poached, with a runny yolk.
  5. Serve as is, topped with chopped parsley and a spritz of lemon juice, or over a serving of creamy polenta.


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