Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)

Shakshuka

During the last few months of my pregnancy, I had to increase my protein intake. Lucky for me, J found several recipes that tasted good, included several servings of vegetables and had lots of protein. This one from Tori Avey with a few modifications quickly became one of our favorites.

You can modify the spice level based on your tastes. If you want to add more eggs, feel free! It’s just as good the next morning on toast like huevos rancheros.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced (we use more!)
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)
Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
5-6 eggs
1 container plain feta
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:
Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium (we use our cast iron skillet for this). Heat 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 to 7 minutes over medium heat until softened. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir to blend. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes until it starts to reduce. Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. At a minimum, add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka. Sprinkle the feta over the dish, or mix it in if you like. Then crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. In our cast iron skillet, we can get about five eggs around the outer edge and one in the center.

Shakshuka (just added eggs)

The eggs will cook over easy on top of the tomato sauce. If you prefer more done eggs, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook in the oven until set (when the skillet is jiggled, the eggs don’t jiggle back). We leave the mixture uncovered and let simmer for between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Be careful at this point, because the mixture can go from reducing to burning quickly. Serve in a bowl alone, over rice or with some french bread.

My opinion:
This dish is delicious hot or cold. With sides or alone. It’s easy, filling and perfect for a late fall evening.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, our toddler loves this dish. We just add the extra spices onto our own plates. 

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