Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shakshuka: Peppers, Onions and Eggs

 Sometimes on cold rainy days when my husband and I are both feeling a little bored, we like to feed our addictions at Barnes and Noble. He heads to the CD department and I head upstairs to the cookbooks. This past weekend, I picked up a new book I've had my eye on titled Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. It's a book full of gorgeous vegetable recipe that can act as main dishes or side dishes. It also has a chapter on pasta and grains, fruits and cheese.

Every week, I like to make breakfast for dinner. It is usually an inexpensive meal, quick, easy and always enjoyable for myself, husband, daughter and dog. I came across a recipe in my new book that looks unbelievable in the picture. The name of this dish is Shakshuka, a North African dish with many different variations. It's basically caramelized onions, peppers, herbs with a runny egg. It came out really great and I am definitely making this recipe again. I would serve this with a piece of crusty bread or roasted potatoes. This is definitely a recipe worth trying. I hope you enjoy!

I am posting the original recipe below, as well as a few changes I have made.

Serves 4

1/2 tsp cumin seeds or 1/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil (I did not use this much oil, I just coated the bottom of the pan with oil and it was enough) 
2 large onions- thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2" strips
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2" stripes (I used 1 yellow, 1 green pepper) 
3-4 tsp muscovado sugar ( if you do not have this type of sugar, use brown sugar)
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs-leaves picked and chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsely
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp saffron (I did not have this on hand, so I omitted this spice)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper-to taste
up to 1 1/8 cups water
4-8 eggs (depending on how many you would like to serve per person) 
Additions: You can add a variety of different ingredients if you would like, such as, feta cheese, preserved lemon or sliced Chorizo. If you are adding sausage, I would suggest cooking it separate and adding it to the sauce toward the end. 

1. In a very large pan dry roast the cumin on high heat for 2 minutes. Add in oil and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add in peppers, sugar, and herbs and continue to cook for 10 minutes on medium-high to get a nice color.

2. Add in tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. During the cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can prepare this mix well in advance.

3. Remove bay leaves, the divide the pepper mixture among four deep frying pans, or one large pan, big enough to fit eggs. Heat the pepper mixture on medium heat to warm up, then make gaps in the mixture and break eggs into each gap. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper and cover the pans with lids. Cook on a very gentle heat for 10-12 minutes until eggs have just set. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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