I’m sharing dinner with you tonight. My shakshuka, aka: eggs poached in tomato. A brief history of shakshuka from Wikipedia, because I’m quite frankly too lazy to tell you about it. You can also read more from a previous recipe/post I wrote many months ago, here!
As I’ve said before I’m a huge advocate for simple meals that are quick to prepare, healthful, yet not lacking in flavor. Just because you’re tired at the end of the day and don’t feel like labouring over dinner, does not mean you have to eat boring or bland food.
According to the Natural Resources Defence Council – 40% of food is wasted in the United States alone. Learning to cook dishes from different cuisines and getting creative using up leftovers kicking around in your fridge: are the two best ways to take your dinners up a notch while reducing waste.
Eat well, waste less.
Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisines, traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews and Maghrebi Jews, hundreds of thousands of whom immigrated to Israel during the 1950s.
According to food writer Claudia Roden, Tunisian cooks added artichoke hearts, potatoes and broad beans to the dish. Because eggs are the main ingredient, it is often on breakfast menus, but in Israel, it is also a popular evening meal. It has been said to challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter. According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with zhug, a hot green paste. Some versions include salty cheeses but traditional recipes are very basic, consisting merely of crushed tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, salt, paprika, olive oil and poached eggs.
Shakshuka: yields 3 large portions
750 ml chopped tomatoes, canned is fine
1 mini can tomato paste (you know the one, the skinny little can)
1 medium onion
to taste cumin
to taste salt, black pepper
to taste dried chili flakes, harissa spice blend, za’atar spice blend, thyme, oregano
-Bring 2 TB of oil up to medium-high heat in a saute pan. Toss in the onions, season with some salt and pepper and toss the onions around in the pan until they begin to caramelize. More caramelized, less caramelized, it’s up to you. Obviously the more golden the onions are the more flavor you’re incorporating.
-Toss in a few pinches of each of the spices, spice blends, and herbs to your liking, then add all the tomato paste. Saute this mixture for a minute or two.
-Dump in the can of chopped tomatoes and stir until everything is well mixed and even looking. Turn the heat to low or medium-low, plop your eggs directly into the mixture. I use a fair amount of force when tossing them in there (straight from the half shell) so that they sink a little bit into the tomato mixture.
-Check the temperature and be sure the tomato liquids are simmering lightly but not at a rapid boil, and top with a lid for 10 minutes or so until the eggs are cooked. Again, cooking times vary depending on how you like your eggs. Check every few minutes to see how it’s progressing. I like the eggs still a little jiggly so 10-12 minutes is plenty enough at this point.
-Remove the lid, slide the pan off the heat, cool for 5 minutes, and serve!
We eat ours with some bread or pita. A perfect (read: quick) weeknight dinner. You need to be sure you mop up all those juices, so a bread of some kind is necessary!
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