“Bless You?” My first thought exactly, one day last year, when this popular Middle Eastern dish made it’s debut on our menu. I probably said “Shakshouka!” over 100 times that day, giddy by the excitement evoked in the annunciation of such a strange word. At first my co-workers laughed, one or two probably joined in for some group “Shakshouka’s!”, but as the day wore on so did their patience, and now I limit myself to 2 or 3 for the sake of team morale. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to! Not only is shakshouka fun to say, it is perfect cozy-weather food. Eggs poached in a spicy tomato/pepper sauce, traditionally served right in the cast iron skillet – what a ‘Sunday’ kind of breakfast.
Shakshouka has it’s roots in Tunisia, but has become a staple in Israel, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt – with the flavor and presentation slightly different in each of these countries. Sometimes it is served with spicy sausage, or salty cheese, onions, vegetables, and often with a side of bread. Whatever its origins, and however the best way to cook it, shakshouka, which means “all mixed up” in Hebrew, is healthy, nutritious, and apparently a fine cure for a hangover.
At Farm to Fit, Chef Jeremy mixes it up by adding Harissa to the sauce, a side of Israeli Couscous, and a link of Chicken-Apple Sausage. This Sunday try our version or make your own with this simple recipe!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste– spicy!)
- Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5-6 eggs
- 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)
- Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
- Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshouka.
- Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.
- Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much, which can lead to burning.
- Some people prefer their shakshouka eggs more runny. If this is your preference, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top– then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired.