So readers I have some exciting news. Next week I'll be starting a new job! I'm nervous and ecstatic about the whole thing. So, until things get settled in a bit, the ol' blog might slow down a skosh. I'll try to keep up though, I promise. However that said, you might see a lot more simple prep or one-pot weeknight meals as that's what I'll probably be eating for awhile. Trust me they'll still be just as delicious as the fancier stuff. Take this dish I made the other night for Mr.S. and Kidlet #1, called shakshuka. Shakshuka is a North African dish that was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. The term "shakshuka" means "mixture" (in Arabic slang) and that's exactly what the dish is - a mixture of poached eggs and a spicy tomato-based sauce served in a cast iron skillet. It's similar in some ways to Mexico's huevos rancheros and Italy's uova al purgatorio (eggs in purgatory). Mr.S and Kidlet #1 loved the dish so much I'm sure it'll be our regular rotation. It's one of those dishes that's appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is extremely flavorful and satisfying. It smells heavenly when you're cooking it too! When I made it the other night, I served it over ground beef and crumbled Italian sausage because Mr. S wanted some meat with the dish, but it's equally great when paired with steamed rice or a crusty peasant bread for dipping.
Couple of tips:
- If you prefer, a bit of harissa can be substituted for the paprika and cayenne
- If you're feeling particularly ambitious, make a double batch of the sauce and freeze the extra portion. That way the next time you make the dish, all you have to do is thaw it out, throw it in the pan and add eggs.
- If you want the dish to be spicier, you can add some red pepper flakes while cooking or drizzle some hot sauce on the finished product.
- This is a great dish to be inventive with - add in your favorite ingredients like mushrooms, chard or cauliflower.
Shakshuka (adapted from the New York Times' Shakshuka with Feta)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion- halved and thinly sliced
1 large jalapeno- stemmed, seeds removed, diced
1 large red or green bell pepper- seeds removed, cut into strips
6-7 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes with juices (chopped or you can crush with your hands)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, more to taste
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
8 large eggs
1.5 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
hot sauce, for serving (optional)
a sprinkle of z'atar (optional)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Warm olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno and bell pepper. Cook until onion softens, about 15-20 minutes. Add garlic and sauté it for a few more minutes.
3. Add in cumin, sweet smoked paprika, turmeric and cayenne. Stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes thickened slightly. About 7-12 minutes (depending on your oven).
4. In a small bowl, mix your feta and crushed caraway seeds together. Add it to the tomato mixture. Stir together.
5. Using a spoon, shape shallow little wells in the sauce. Slip a whole egg into each well. Continue this around the perimeter of the skillet. (I found cracking each egg into a small bowl then slipping it to the well made it a bit easier for me.) You want to make sure you're leaving enough room between the eggs so they're not crowded. This helps the eggs keep their shape and enhances the presentation. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper across the tops of the eggs.
6. Carefully take the skillet off the stove and move it into the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on your eggs, you want to remove the skillet from the oven just as the eggs are beginning to set.
7. Sprinkle with z'atar (optional) and chopped parsley. Serve hot.