When was the last time you went out to brunch? It’s been a while for me and I feel like it’s about time. It doesn’t help that I’ve got about a thousand restaurants on my brain recently including Mable’s Table, The Delta, and Chez Moi. A girl can dream, right? A dish in particular that is taking the brunch scene by storm is Shakshuka, pronounced exactly as you see it (sh-ak-sh-ooh-kah). This North African delicacy is the simple combination of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It can be made a number of different ways.
I opted for a more traditional recipe keeping the red tomato sauce instead of green. The color is gorgeous and the flavors are bright and comforting. What’s even better is that this is a one-pot dish. Who doesn’t love a dinner with minimal clean up? Start with onion, garlic, red bell pepper and a few different spices sauteed in butter until soft. Add crushed tomatoes (or if you’d like the sauce a little more chunky, you can use diced), and bring to a simmer. I originally had a full teaspoon of cayenne pepper as well as a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead of one quarter. I love spice but that was a bit hot even for me. If you want yours spicier, add a little more cayenne and red pepper flakes. Those are the two spices that will effect the heat level the most.
Let’s talk eggs. In full transparency, I did not make this once and call it a success. I made it a few times because the first time, I overcooked the eggs the yolks were completely solid. In my defense, I did a lot of research on shakshuka before writing my own recipe and the average cook time was 20-25 minutes for the eggs. I don’t know what happened and it wasn’t my stove. The second time I made this dish, I cut the time down to 15 minutes in my downtown apartment (as opposed to the house in the burbs) and they were overcooked again! The answer: watch your eggs carefully. Don’t be afraid to gently poke the yolk to make sure it’s still liquid. Otherwise, You’ll be eating shakshuka with eggs poached so well you might as well crumble a hard-boiled egg over the sauce instead.
2 tbsp. Butter
½ Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
¼ tsp. Coriander
¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Oregano
15 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
15 oz. Diced Tomatoes
Goat Cheese Crumbles (for garnish)
1 - Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and spices. Saute 8-10 minutes until softened.
2 - Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and let cook about 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes have sweetened and the spices have released their flavors. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
3 - Crack the eggs carefully into the tomato sauce. Do not break the yolks. You can create little holes in the sauce for them if you’d like. Cover tight with a lid and let cook about 8-10 minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Watch closely or else they’ll cook solid!
4 - Garnish with the goat cheese crumbles and serve with crusty bread.