recipe: Shakshuka (baked eggs)

Eggs are the saviours of the weekend breakfast table; packed full of protein and vitamins and who doesn’t sigh with joy at the sight of a runny orange yolk? I first tried Shakshuka, a North African dish, at Ottolenghi’s in Islington and it has firmly taken residence as a brunch favourite ever since.

You can dress it up with all sorts of extra odds and sods depending on what you have in the fridge and it is a great option when you are cooking for a crowd as it looks impressive but is totally achievable. The addition of chorizo and vegetables make this a well balanced meal so we will even opt for this on a weeknight dinner for a satisfying and easy meal.

For the veggies amongst you, then do leave out the chorizo but you will want to increase the amount of smoked paprika by another 0.5 tsp.

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chunky dice
  • 1 pepper, chunky dice
  • 100g chorizo (a whole chorizo, not sliced)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp harissa paste (leave out if you don’t have it)
  • 400g can of plum tomatoes
  • Small handful of parsley
  • Small handful of coriander
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 eggs
  • Small amount of crumbled feta, greek yoghurt, optional
  • Sliced bread to serve, sourdough is ideal

Method

1. Heat a heavy, overproof pan on a medium heat (a cast iron casserole pan is ideal). Add the oil, onions and pepper and fry the vegetables for about 7 minutes until they are soft and starting to brown on the edges.

2. Peel the skin off the chorizo (this will help is soften in the pan and ensure that it is not chewy) and chop into small pieces about the same size as the vegetables. Add the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the red oil are starting to ooze from the chorizo and it is starting to brown at the edges.

3.  Add the tomato puree and harissa to the pan and fry for 30 seconds to release their aroma, stirring well to coat the pan contents in the pastes. Add a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper.

4. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan along with a 1/3 of a can of water. Remove the stalks from the parsley and coriander and chop them finely before adding to the pan (reserve the leaves for later). Chop the tomatoes with the back of a spoon then simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should then be relatively thick.

5. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. You may need to add a little sugar. Once you are happy that the sauce is balanced, add the cherry tomatoes and most of the herbs (saving a small amount for a garnish) and stir well.

6. Turn the heat down and make four holes in the sauce (try to keep some sauce at the bottom of the whole so that the egg doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan). Crack an egg into each hole, put a lid on the pan and wait. The eggs will usually take 10-15 minutes to cook.

7. Once cooked, garnish with the remaining herbs and serve with toasted bread. Feel free to scatter your eggs with a little greek yoghurt or feta as well!

TIP: if your egg yolks are small you may want to remove some of the white before adding the egg to the pan by cracking the egg into a cup first. This should ensure a cooked white and runny yolk.

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