The chicken recipe called for chicken thighs, fresh garlic, za’atar (optional), shallots, red and green grapes in small clusters on the vine and fresh thyme. My husband and I found the dish very good and tasty. However, he would have preferred the grapes off the vine, making it easier to eat them. Also, his preference would have been for chicken breasts. The roasted grapes were delicious with the chicken. Leaving out the za’atar was a mistake on my part. I thought the chicken could have used a bit more seasoning, but I didn’t want to purchase this spice just for one dish. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that could include dried oregano, marjoram or thyme, spice such as cumin and coriander along with sesame seeds, salt and sumac. Sumac is a bush with dried fruits that are crushed to make a red powder. Sumac is bright in color, tart and lightly astringent. However, I am seeing it being used in a few more recipes that I am looking to try.
The second recipe was shakshuka with feta. I was always intrigued by the name. I first encountered it on the menu of Park Avenue Summer in Manhattan.
Shakshuka is eggs cooked in tomato sauce with spices. This is a well liked dish in the Middle East and North Africa. When I saw the recipe in the supplement, I had to try it. You will need an onion, red bell pepper, garlic, cumin, sweet paprika, a can of whole plum tomatoes, feta cheese, eggs and cilantro. I used a 28 ounce can of Wegmans crushed Italian tomatoes, Hungarian sweet paprika (because I had it) and fresh parsley instead of cilantro (personal taste).
The sauce was very easy to put together. Once that was done, I placed 4 cracked eggs into the sauce. The recipe said the eggs should cook for 7 to 10 minutes, mine cooked for a bit longer. This was another delightful dish that my husband and I enjoyed. I had some Italian bread to sop up the sauce. The feta in the sauce gave it a touch of creaminess. While we occasionally enjoy breakfast for supper, this would also be a great do ahead dish for a brunch. Make the sauce ahead, reheat or keep warm, and when the guests arrive, plop the eggs on top.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.