#1 – 48 Recipe Challenge: Recipe 42 – Green Shakshuka with Rainbow Chard

A new ingredient for this month’s recipe:  Rainbow Chard.  Chosen on a whim, selected from a stall on the Farmers Market because it looked pretty.  Bought with absolutely no idea what to do with it of course…but it does look pretty, doesn’t it?

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Luckily, when you have a random ingredient, Google is your friend.  I learnt that chard can be used a bit like kale or spinach (although it gives out significantly less water than spinach) and apparently goes well with both lemon and garlic.  The majority of the available recipes were side dishes or accompaniments though.  I was really looking for a main course to make the chard the star of the show.  And I wanted a recipe which would use all of it.  Many used just the leaves but it seemed a shame to me not only to waste the stalks, but also to lose the pretty colours, which I thought would really enhance the look of a dish.

Eventually I found a recipe for a Green Shakshuka, using both the leaves and stalks of the chard.  Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern breakfast dish, cooked in a large frying pan and traditionally made with onions, tomatoes, garlic and spices, with eggs cracked into it and cooked until just set.  There is also a Turkish variant, called Menemen, which sometimes has peppers added.  I discovered this dish recently, and it makes a great supper.  Low calorie, tasty and easy to prepare, plus it looks great with its bright, vibrant colours.  (I’d recommend it – here’s the recipe I used: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1263668/turkish-onepan-eggs-and-peppers-menemen )

Given how much I’d enjoyed the Menemen I was quite excited about using my beautiful chard to make a green Shakshuka.  Making the cumin seed flatbread was an added bonus as that’s something I’ve not done before, so it gave me a new technique this month as well as a new recipe.

Preparing the Shakshuka was easy.  Remove the leaves from the chard, chop the stalks and shred the leaves, chop some onion, crush some garlic, and add it all to the pan with some oil and the herbs.  Cook it down, add the eggs and seasoning, pop the lid on and wait for the eggs to cook.  The flatbread was also easy:  mix the flour, salt, cumin seeds and yoghurt with some water to form a dough, roll it out, shape into flatbreads and dry fry.

Here’s the finished dish:

Rainbow Chard Shakshuka with spiced yogurt and Cumin Seed Flatbread

Rainbow Chard Shakshuka with spiced yogurt and Cumin Seed Flatbread

Quick and easy to prepare, it showed off the lovely colours of the chard and should have been a winner.  But, I was disappointed with the result.  It just didn’t work.  Without the tomatoes, a Shakshuka is simply not a Shakshuka.  It was dry, and the eggs overcooked because there was no liquid for them to poach in.  It desperately needed the yogurt but even that could only make it palatable, not delicious.  The texture was just wrong.

The flatbread however, was a triumph, so I will retain that part of the recipe for future reference!

For the sake of completeness, here’s the link to the recipe: https://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/duck-egg-shakshuka-with-cumin-bread but I really wouldn’t recommend it.  If you want a Shakshuka, make the real thing.

Scores for this Green Shakshuka are:

Healthiness – 7/10 (lots of your five a day)

Ease of prep – 8/10 (just the time taken to chop things, it’s not a challenging recipe)

Flavour/taste – 3/10 (points mainly awarded for the flatbread)

I think I’ll stick with chard as a side dish in future!  I found a recipe for chard leaves with chickpeas, lemon and garlic which looks good.

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