Shakshuka – hearty north African breakfast, brunch, lunch… or supper – the everything meal
Shakshuka is essentially eggs poached in tomato juice, a warming Tunisian dish which you can find all along the north African Mediterranean coast. It’s the quintessential everything meal… it goes down well at any time of the day.
It’s one of those dishes which will take pretty much everything you can throw at it, you can add chorizo, or ham; you can add minced lamb; you can leave off the toast and add cooked, sliced potatoes.
There is also a green version (well, the Saucy Dressings’ green version) of shakshuka which substitutes a green pepper for the red one, and substitutes finely chopped courgettes, spinach and spring greens, or finely shredded Savoy cabbage, and even sliced artichoke hearts for the tomatoes. Obviously the juice in the tomato tin is missing, so you may need to add a bit of vegetable or chicken stock. Chris Honor makes a green version with spinach, garlic, raisins, and toasted cumin and pumpkin seeds.
And, depending on what is in your fridge and needs eating up, you can create a sort of combined shakshouka.
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Shakshouka, the every time, everything, meal
- 4 eggs
- 120 ml/½ cup olive oil
- 2 onions
- 1 red pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- 2 tsps caraway seeds (you can use cumin if you don’t have caraway)
- ½ tsp Urfa pepper flakes
- 50g/2 oz preserved lemons
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 x 400 g/14 oz tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsps paprika
- 200g/7 oz feta cheese
- 1 small bunch coriander
- Freshly ground pepper
- Toast to serve
- Take the eggs out of the fridge if that is where you keep them.
- Heat the oil in a high-sided frying pan, which ideally has a lid.
- Peel and chop the onions. Add to the pan, get them cooking.
- Halve the red pepper, take out the seeds and stalk, and chop. Add to the onions. Lower the heat so that they don’t burn. Cover. If you don’t have a lid, you can use aluminium foil. Cook for ten minutes.
- Meanwhile dry-fry the caraway seeds, and crush them in a pestle and mortar.
- Peel the garlic cloves and crush with 1 tsp smoked salt.
- Chop the preserved lemon into fine pieces.
- Take the lid off the onions and pepper. Add the caraway seeds, the salted garlic and the preserved lemon, continue to cook, minus the lid, for another five or so minutes to steam off any condensed moisture.
- Add the tomatoes, breaking up any large pieces. Add ¼ tin of water (or red vermouth). Add the paprika and some freshly ground pepper. Continue to cook, simmering gently, for about 15 minutes. If it starts to look a bit dry, add another ¼ tin of water, but remember, you need it to be thick.
- It should now be thick enough for you to be able, using the back of a wooden spoon, to make four round ditches in the sauce. Do this, and break an egg into each. Grind a bit more pepper over the eggs.
- Cook, covered, for about five minutes while you chop the coriander and make the toast. When the whites are cooked through, but the yolks are still runny, take the whole caboodle off the heat, crumble over the feta, and sprinkle over the coriander.
- Serve on hot plates with the toast.