One reason Easter snuck up on me this year is because I do not get a statutory holiday this weekend. In Canada, I usually get Good Friday off. (In Quebec, I think they get the Monday off instead). Here in Texas, nothing. Although I think stores may be closed on Sunday.
The second reason, of course, is that we will not be celebrating it with family or friends.
I have even less knowledge of Passover but it passed my mind as I made this quintessential Arabic-Jewish dish: Shakshouka.
I first encountered shakshouka (also known as shakshuka or chakchoukah) in Morocco. At its roots, it is a mildly spiced tomato dish in which eggs are poached directly in the tomatoes. Like most dishes, every city had its own variation: more vegetables, less vegetables, more spice, less spice.
I was drawn to this version due to the overabundance of vegetables. Tomatoes, bell peppers and cabbage. Shakshouka’s country of origin may lie in Morocco’s neighbouring country of Tunisia, known for its hot and spicy harissa pepper paste. While I have made my own (not-too-spicy) harissa before, I opted for something quasi-similar I had in my kitchen: pat-chi. Aka, kale and collard kimchi spiced with Thai chiles. Aka, related to kimchi with a yaya-twist. A little bit goes a long way to flavour our vegetable ragout.
To keep this vegan, I swapped the eggs (perhaps totally losing the essence of shakshouka) for chickpeas. I loved it. But sadly, upon investigation found that with this swap, this would no longer be appropriate for passover. No chickpeas for Passover. Perhaps you could serve the ragout with some quinoa: now kosher approved for Passover.
Will you be celebrating Easter or Passover this weekend?
Tunisian Chickpea & Cabbage Shakshouka
Adapted from The New York Times
1 tbsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin across the grain
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small head cabbage, cored and shredded (1/2 lb)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tbsp kale kimchi, or to taste (from Pat Greer’s Kitchen) (harissa would be a good substitute, this is a good mild homemade version)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice (fire roasted preferable)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juice (fire roasted preferable)
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or add eggs and poach them as they do with authentic shakshouka)
1. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and saute until golden, around 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook until they begin soften, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, around 30-60 seconds. Stir in the cabbage, coriander seeds and cumin, and cook until the cabbage has wilted, around 5 minutes more. Stir in the kimchi and tomatoes (with their juices). Raise heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover partially, reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes cook down to a thick slurry.
2. Add chickpeas and heat through. If adding eggs, with the back of your spoon, make 6 depressions in the vegetables. Break an egg into each depression. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the eggs are set. Sprinkle the eggs with salt, pepper and serve.