Breakfast & Brunch

Shakshuka

This past weekend North Texas was hit with a pretty serious ice storm. Below freezing temperatures prohibited the ice from melting, and we were without power for about 24 hours. I spent that day cuddled up on the sofa reading books and lighting as many candles as possible.

I’m happy to report that our power has been restored and our home is bright and warm again. With that said, I am still feeling that chill deep within my bones. I decided to make this warm, hearty, and comforting dish for breakfast in an attempt to warm us up from the inside out.

Shakshuka is a popular North African dish of eggs simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. My inspiration spans both the West Coast and Europe. I first had this for breakfast one day at Tasty n Sons in Portland, and a few months ago my husband attempted to create Yotam Ottolenghi’s version out of his book Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

This dish is inherently adaptable, so by all means use what you have on hand and make it your own. My variation contains a mix of roasted peppers, onions, garlic, and a diverse mixture of spices I had in my cabinet. This ended up making way more sauce than I needed, so I removed about half of it and froze it for future use. Then I cracked some eggs along the surface, and transferred the entire skillet to the oven. Once my whites were set I garnished it with some sliced green onions and fresh herbs. We enjoyed this immensely and washed it all down with a couple cups of piping hot coffee.

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Shakshuka

(inspired by Jerusalem: A Cookbook, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups roasted bell peppers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. turbinado sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 6 large eggs
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (I used green onions, parsley, and cilantro)
  • Crusty French bread, for serving

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes more. Add the roasted peppers and continue cooking, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add all of the spices, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, the spices should coat the onions and fat well and be quite aromatic. Add the tomatoes and their juice, along with the sugar to the skillet, increase the heat to medium high, while breaking up the tomatoes and stirring to incorporate all of the ingredients. Once the sauce begins to bubble pretty rapidly reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to gently simmer, uncovered, about 20 – 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary.

Now this is where you can get creative: You can make this a one pot dish or you can take the presentation up a notch and make individual servings for everyone. I decided to make it a one pot meal so I removed enough sauce to leave about an inch to an inch and a half behind in the pan. I poked little wells across the surface, and cracked an egg in each one. I seasoned each egg with a pinch of salt and pepper, and popped it into a 400 degree oven until the whites were set but still had some jiggle, about seven minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with sliced fresh herbs, some finishing salt, and black pepper. Scoop into bowls and serve immediately with some crusty bread to sop up all of the delicious sauce.

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