Israeli-American Chef Brings Hummus and Shakshuka to New Orleans


Alon Shaya discusses his Israeli grandma, the secret to great hummus and why his American high school teacher is accompanying him on a trip to Israel.

New Orleans is an unlikely locale for an Israeli restaurant.
After all, The Big Easy is famous for its decadent shellfish-and-pork-heavy cuisine, whereas Israeli cooking is known for its use of fresh vegetables and mostly kosher or kosher-style fare.
But Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya’s newly opened Shaya, which offers an Israeli-inspired menu using local New Orleans ingredients, has been drawing crowds every night. (For those wondering, it is not kosher.)
A James Beard Award winner who has been named by Esquire magazine as a “chef to watch” and been featured in Food and Wine magazine, Shaya, 37, has become an established part of the New Orleans food scene. Domenica, a restaurant he opened in 2009 with John Besh, has garnered rave reviews and awards.
Cast-Iron Seared Lamb Shakshuka
For the Lamb:
6 lbs. lamb shoulder on the bone
kosher salt as needed
1 Tbsp. ground paprika
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
8 cups yellow onions, sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
8-9 cups chicken stock
1 large sprig rosemary
zest and juice of 3 oranges
11⁄2 cups canola oil (set half aside to brown the lamb)
For the shakshuka:
1 cup diced onions
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
3 cups tomato sauce
6 whole eggs
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
salt to taste
Season the lamb shoulder generously with kosher salt and all of the ground spices the night before. Place in the refrigerator. The next day when you are ready to cook, place a large cast-iron Dutch oven that is large enough to hold the lamb shoulder on medium heat. Add in 3⁄4 cup of the canola oil and begin to sear the shoulder on all sides until completely golden brown.
Preheat the oven to 275˚.
Remove pot from heat and set the shoulder aside. Pour out the dirty oil and replace with the remaining canola oil. Reduce heat to low and add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until all are golden brown and tender. Return the shoulder to the pot and pour the chicken stock over it until shoulder is just submerged. Add the rosemary sprig, orange zest and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and place the lid on the Dutch oven. Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours. The meat should be falling off the bone when it’s removed. Let rest for 15 minutes out of the braising liquid.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet with 1⁄2 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the braised lamb shoulder to the oil and sear for 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. While the lamb shoulder is searing, add the diced onions, crushed garlic and crushed chili flakes to the pan to slowly caramelize. Flip the shoulder so the golden brown and crispy side is up and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and season with salt.
Move the shoulder to the far side of the pan and crack the eggs into the other side. Once the egg whites have set, pull from the heat and sprinkle all of the sliced green onions on top.
Serve with sliced rustic style bread.
Serves 6.
Shannon Sarna writes "The Nosher" for MyJewishLearning.


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