I’ve just spent the last two weeks camping in my living room amongst barricades of boxes containing all the ridiculous amounts of kitchen paraphernalia I seem to have collected over the years. In those two weeks I really missed the ability to cook something even as simple as an egg so I decided to base my first meal in my brand spanking new kitchen around them. I eat eggs a lot – mostly scrambled for breakfast, or as a hidden ingredient in a more complex dish – so once in a while it’s fab to make them the star of the show. Particularly relevant today what with eggs being synonymous with Easter.
Shakshuka is quite simply a dish of braised eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. The dish originally hails from Tunisia, and from what I can tell is pretty similar to its other Mediterranean derivative – Menemen (from Turkey). I’ve also seen it spelt Chakchouka. According to Yotam Ottolenghi, who covers his variation of this dish in his recent Jerusalem book, it’s completely OK to play around with the spices, and vegetables included in the tomato sauce base – and that is exactly what I’ve done in my version. Carrots for example are not usually part of the recipe, but I rather fancied including them. You could also add harissa paste, to the sauce as Ottolenghi does. I’d love to try an Italian version of this too with Italian herbs & black olives instead of the spice and topped with fresh oregano and parma ham….
Shakshuka can be eaten any time of day. I ate this for a light dinner, and kept the leftovers for breakfast. Would do lunch just nicely too. Since the sauce takes a good 20 minutes to stew up, you could double up on the sauce part of the recipe, then remove half of it before cracking in the eggs, stashing it in the fridge or freezer for a speedy repeat Shakshuka (warm up sauce, crack in eggs, poach and go!)
I served mine with some dressed green salad for extra goodness.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- Tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil (or use plain olive oil and include a couple of diced garlic cloves with the peppers)
- 2 Yellow carrots, finely diced (standard orange carrots would be fine – I just think they are prettier!)
- 1 red & 1 orange pepper (Capsicum), finely diced
- 2 tsps tomato purée
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- pinch salt
- 390g carton of chopped tomatoes
- 4 free-range eggs
- handful of parsley
- tsp sumac
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan (you’ll need to fit 4 eggs in it, so make-sure its big enough for that!)
- Add the carrots, peppers, tomato purée spices and salt and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables soften.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes, stir and leave to cook for another 10 mins as the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
- Make 4 wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. The eggs will take about 10 minutes to poach. If you’ve got a lid for your frying pan pop it on top. Don’t let the pan get too hot or the yolks will over cook. You want to make sure they are still runny once the whites have set.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and rest for a few minutes, before topping with freshly chopped parsley and a tsp of the deliciously lemony spice sumac. Gently spoon into serving bowls, adding any sides that you fancy.