Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent Recipe #1: Israeli Skillet


So it is the first Friday of Lent today and, as a practicing, soon-to-be baptized Catholic, that means fasting and abstinence (no meat).  Since HB and I have decided to abstain from eating at restaurants for the next 40 days - which, if I may say, is not only a oblation of convenience but a sincere sacrifice of worldly foodie indulgence - I've resorted to the HB-tested, GW-approved bag of home cooking tricks I've built up over the last couple years.  Most of my recipes are for things like slow cooked lamb shanks, pesto-steak sandwiches or veal bolognese, which clearly are not vegetarian or fish options, but I've got a few Lent appropriate meals up my sleeve that will satisfy even these picky eaters. 

The thing is, although fasting cuts out the main source of protein in meals by restricting meat, as a diabetic I don't exactly relish the idea of serving up a big plate of plain old carbs.  Plus, if you tie in my desperate attempts to loose the extra baby weight and my interest in actually have something tasty on the table, creativity and nutritional research become key... because, let's face it, cereal has never exactly been my forte.

So in an attempt to share the work I've done to combine these food-factors, I'm going to post the recipes for our Friday night dinners throughout Lent in case something strikes your fancy.  Tonight's was an "Israeli Skillet" recipe from Bon Appetit magazine that I've tweeked a bit.  It's got chickpeas, tomatoes, feta and eggs -- and, if I've never raved the value of the garbanzo bean before, let me do it now! Not only does this recipe have phenomenal flavor and come together in a jiff, but the chickpea has a stellar carb:protein ratio that beefs up (ha) its substantive quality in this dish - I mean one 4 ounce serving size has 15 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein! And to top it all off, HB - the meat and potatoes, corn fed, muscle man from MN - says he loves it...  

Alright, enough preamble, here ya go:

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 can chopped green chilies
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp lemon peel; 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Dash ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely crumbled Israeli feta
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pita bread with honey (watch the carbs in pita, it's higher than you'd think at roughly 36 g per slice)

Directions

Place souffle dishes on a cookie sheet and preheat them in oven to 425°F.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Add crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.

Pull souffle dishes from oven and evenly separate the tomato sauce between the dishes. Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart (two per souffle dish).

Transfer dishes back to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 8 - 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with pita for dipping, honey on the side.

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