Hearty Brunch Shakshuka

To be honest, I’m not sure when I learned of Shakshuka for the first time. I’m sure it was probably through social media, and it was several years ago. But when I saw it on the menu at one of my favorite places in Boston, Tatte Bakery , I knew I had to try it. Let’s just say, I was hooked! With that delicious, spicy tomato base topped with over easy eggs, I eagerly dunked my hearty bread in and ate every bite. I had to learn more and try to recreate at home.

First of all, that name – shakshuka – it’s just fun to say! It roughly means “a haphazard mixture”. I don’t know about you, but I guess I feel like a shakshuka every dang day. LOL And while it is known as an Israeli dish, its origins go further back to North African and Arabic countries, so who really knows the full story, we don’t know. But Culture Trip has a great overview.

The basic premise of Shakshuka is cooking down a stew of tomatoes with a variety of spices to make a bubbling saucy base in which to cook eggs. Some recipes finish the eggs on the stovetop by covering and steaming, but I like to cook them in the oven like a fritatta. There are of course many variations possible, but I’ve settled on a set of spices I use by default and then add others that seem interesting. It’s so fun to experiment and try your own combinations to make your Shakshuka unique!

Let’s get started!

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1.5 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I vary the amount of crushed tomatoes depending on how runny I want the sauce and these seems about the right amount)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese, divided (I use manchego often, but many recipes use feta)

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic powder, stirring and cooked until they start to soften and brown.

1. Saute the peppers, onions, and garlic

Add tomatoes and all spices, stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce and simmer until vegetables cook down, sauce reduces, and mixture is a thick stew, about 15 minutes. (Note: cut vegetables as desired for amount of “chunkiness”). Add salt and pepper or more spices to taste. Stir in half the manchego cheese.

2. Add tomatoes, spices, and simmer

Make indentations in the tomato sauce, and gently crack eggs on top of the mixture (5 in a circle and 1 in the middle). Remove from the stove & transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes watching closely if you want the eggs yolks to remain runny.

3. Add cheese and crack eggs gently on top of sauce

Remove from the oven, top with the remaining cheese, sprinkle a little more cayenne and oregano if you like, and serve with crusty bread or toast!

4. EAT!

Contemplate how you’ve lived without this dish in your life and be grateful you now have it in your repertoire. 🙂 Enjoy!

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