How does shakshouka sound?
Okay, I realize not everyone has heard of this dish, but it is a Moroccan staple, according to Wikipedia, and pretty popular in Israel.
The dish consists of eggs poached on top of a sauce consisting of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices cooked up in a cast-iron skillet. Sound good to you? Then proceed...
The idea to make shakshouka was born of a conversation with my boss about "Jewish" food, and after discussing various Ashkenazi (Easter European Jewish) dishes, I mentioned that Sephardi (Spanish and Middle-Eastern Jewish) dishes are a bit different. After briefly discussing shakshouka with my boss, I went to see if I could find a recipe, since I'd never actually made it before.
The recipe I found was over on The Shiksa in The Kitchen, and I started out with that recipe followed to a "T" and then made a few minor changes based on personal taste when I made it again last night. The Huz absolutely loved it and insisted it become part of our dinner recipe rotation (along with pizza, one-pot pasta, and stuffed portobella mushrooms). I have yet to convince the toddler to try it, but I wouldn't take her opinion too seriously. Her idea of a gourmet meal is yogurt...wait for it...with fruit on the bottom.
Another pretty important factor in last night's dinner came about as a result of two things: #1, a lack of good bread for sopping up the sauces, and #2, the brand new rice maker sitting on my counter.
I've had a rice maker on my wish-list for a while, but couldn't decide on which one to buy. After one of my nearest and dearest friends gave me an Amazon gift card as a birthday present, I figured it was time to get decisive and make this purchase. So I bought an Aroma brand model which came last week. Now I just needed an excuse to make rice, and there it was: Shakshouka.
I used it to make brown rice, which came out perfectly fluffy, and was the ultimate complement to that spicy, juicy, tangy, delicious Middle-Eastern/North-African dish.
So try it out, and enjoy!
Shakshouka (adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen)
(note: this makes a great dinner for 2-3 people, but if you make the shakshouka and leave off the eggs, it's also a great salad to put on the shabbos table.)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced (shallots would be good in this, too)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small-to-medium zucchini, diced (optional)
- 1/2 medium-large eggplant diced (optional)
- 4oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped (though I used both)
- 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes (I used one plain diced, and one fire-roasted, just for fun)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- cayenne pepper to taste. Be careful not to overdue it unless you LOVE that kick.
- about 1/2 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs (or more, depending on how many people you're feeding.)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. If you have cast-iron, go for it. I don't, so I used my stainless steel chef's pan. Add in the onions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add in the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms, if using and saute for another 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. (A note about the eggplant - I find that eggplant comes out best if it's salted for a little before you use it. I generally sprinkle with some kosher salt after I slice it, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, then rinse it, pat dry, and dice.)
- Add in peppers and saute until the colors brighten a little (that means it's JUST starting to cook)
- Add in tomatoes, paste, and seasonings and allow it to simmer for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat, until it just starts to reduce.
- Crack the eggs directly into the sauce, spacing them around the pan so that they don't spread into each other. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over the eggs (and maybe some garlic powder, like I did.) Cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- A note about simmering time: The original recipe calls for 10-15 minutes, which is fine if you like your egg fully cooked through (and maybe slightly overcooked), but I personally like my eggs just a little runny or gummy in the middle. I would suggest shortening simmering time to 6-8 minutes to achieve that effect. Basically, cook it to taste.
- Plate it, top with some chopped parsley and/or some feta cheese. Serve with rice or good crusty bread. Enjoy! :)