Laura Brown’s shakshuka
“I was a little bit nervous the first time I made it. It kind of looked funny. Is stew? Is it soup? Is it sauce? What is this thing?” said Laura Brown, a rider on the national women’s track endurance team. She was speaking about the shakshuka recipe she started cooking for her teammates. They share the cooking duties at team camps, such as the one held this past January in California (where teammate Steph Roorda put the cooking of shakshuka on Instagram). Brown is often asked to make her recipe. It seems she’s the only person for the job.
“You really have to cook the onions and peppers down,” she said. “One time I had to go for physio treatment halfway through cooking and my teammates took over. They rushed the pepper-and-onions cook down. It was really gross. I’m the only one who’s allowed to cook it now.”
She found the recipe online but in more than a year of preparing it, she’s made it her own. “I probably tripled the spices,” she said. “I added more garlic. The chickpeas weren’t in the original recipe.”
After the camp in January, Brown and Roorda went to the Berlin six-day race. The event was held in an underground velodrome, which, with the strobe lights and DJS, was more nightclub than sports facility. “Berlin was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done as a cyclist,” said the two-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medallist in the women’s team pursuit. “I don’t mean to downplay the Olympics. I thought I had done it all, but at this six-day, my mind was blown. The racing is fun and the crowd is engaged. You just feel like a rockstar. ” Brown won the scratch race in Berlin; Roorda was second. Off the track, Brown is working as a coach, director and mentor for the Cat. 3/4 women’s squad of Pender Racing presented by Bicicletta. “It’s been rewarding for me just to be able to share,” Brown said. “I’ve been cycling for half my life. It’s fun to pass things along.”
Serves 5 Ingredients
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 large onion, halved and
sliced very thin 1 large red bell pepper, seeded
and sliced very thin 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 tbsp paprika cayenne 28 oz. can whole plum, peeled
tomatoes with juice 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper 1 ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled 5 eggs (or more if you like) 14 oz. can chickpeas cilantro, roughly chopped hot sauce Directions 1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until onions are caramelized, very soft, and reduced, about 20–30 minutes. Do not rush this step. 3. Add garlic and cook about 1–2 minutes or until fragrant. 4. Stir in cumin and paprika. Add cayenne to taste. 5. Wash your hands, and then squish the tomatoes between your fingers and drop them into the skillet. Pour in any tomato juice as well. 6. Season with salt pepper. 7. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Patience is also key here. Do not rush this step or you will end up with soup. 8. Add chickpeas. Gently stir in crumbled feta until just mixed. 9. Crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. 10. Cover skillet and transfer to the oven. Bake until eggs are set to your liking. For slightly runny eggs, bake for 7–10 minutes. 11. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce. Warm naan bread goes well with this dish.