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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar Recipe

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We recently had the opportunity to sit down with world-famous Chef Yotam Ottolenghi to talk about his new cookbook, Simple’. Clearly a chef through and through, during the chat, Ottolenghi revealed that he simply never realized that most people’s lives don’t revolve around the kitchen with plenty of time to shop and prep.

So, when it came down to having to create simple meals, he needed to put himself in the shoes of somebody who doesn’t have the dedicated time or skills he has for cooking.

Developing flavourful, tasty, but always simple meals for the book was a bit of a challenge at first but Ottolenghi kept with the following guidelines; the recipes needed to be:

S short in time

I ingredients: 10 or fewer

M make ahead

P pantry-led

L lazy-day dishes

E easier than you think

Ottolenghi shared one of these SIMPLE meals with us: braised eggs with leek and za’atar.

Check out the recipe below and be sure to follow us on social media to find out how you can win a copy of ‘Simple’.

Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar Recipe

This is a quick way to get a very comforting meal on the table in a wonderfully short amount of time. It’s a dish as happily eaten for brunch, with coffee, as it is for a light supper with some crusty white bread and a glass of wine. The leeks and spinach can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept in the fridge, ready for the eggs to be cracked in and braised. 

Serves six 

2 tbsp unsalted butter 

2 tbsp olive oil 

2 extra-large leeks (or 4 smaller), trimmed and cut into ¼-inch/½ cm slices (6 cups/530g) 

Salt and black pepper 

1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed 

½ small preserved lemon, seeds discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped (2½ tbsp) 

1¼ cups/300ml vegetable stock 

7 oz/200g baby spinach leaves 

6 large eggs 

3¼ oz/90g feta, broken into ¾-inch/2cm pieces 

1 tbsp za’atar 

1. Put the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil into a large sauté pan with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, ½ tsp of salt, and plenty of pepper. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft. Add the cumin, lemon, and vegetable stock and boil rapidly for 4–5 minutes, until most of the stock has evaporated. Fold in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until wilted, then decrease the heat to medium. 

2. Use a large spoon to make 6 indentations in the mixture and break 1 egg into each space. Sprinkle the eggs with a pinch of salt, dot the feta around the eggs, then cover the pan. Simmer for 4–5 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. 

3. Mix the za’atar with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and brush over the eggs. Serve at once, straight from the pan. 

Excerpted from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook. Copyright October 16, 2018. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with publisher. All rights reserved.

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