Shakshuka

One of my favourite dishes for a weekend brunch is Shakshuka, a deliciously rich and spicy tomato base with eggs softly poached in the sauce, easy to make and good for sharing. I have eaten this dish in a number of Middle Eastern countries over the years, with each region having their own variations, but the simple version of just tomatoes, harissa, garlic and peppers, is one of my favourite.

I am also a huge Ottolenghi fan, I have enjoyed eating in his London based Cafes and Restaurants and cooking from his cookbooks, so it will be no surprise that my go to Shakshuka recipe comes from his book Jerusalem, though I do make a couple of subtle changes!. This dish takes me back to a version I had a couple of years ago in the courtyard of a little cafe amidst the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv.

Shakshuka (serves 4)

Ingredients

2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Harissa
2 tsp Tomato Paste
2 Large Red Peppers, diced in 1/2cm pieces
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Ground Cumin
800g Tomatoes, very ripe if possible and chopped; (I used a mix of tinned and fresh tomatoes)
8 large Eggs
1 pinch Salt

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan
  2. Add the harissa, tomato paste, red peppers, garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the peppers soften.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Make eight little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into a dip.
  6. Simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, you may want to cover your pan with a lid to help them cook.
  7. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with some parsley and serve in the middle of the table with some labneh or yogurt to drizzle over and some flatbread or Challah bread to dunk.

This sauce, if you want to make in bulk freezes well so you can always have some in stock for when you fancy a quick Shakshuka. Enjoy!

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