Shakshuka

October 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

J: I have to admit that when I saw this post over on Smitten Kitchen, my primary reaction was a combination of wanting it and fearing it.  It looked delicious — but it had some steps that seemed scary to me, like cracking eggs into a stewy-tomato-saucy-thing.  Something that, a year or so ago, might totally have put me off making a dish.  But now, feeling the echoes of that fear that I used to have about far more dishes and strategies, I just got more determined, pushed the fear aside, and said to Erik, “we’re making this.”  And so we did.

finished shakshuka: can you see the eggs hiding down there?

Shakshuka
(recipe, once again, from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen)
1/4 c olive oil
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (original recipe says you could also use 5 Anaheim chiles if you like)
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c water
Salt, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Warm pitas, for serving

This is really quite a simple recipe.  Prep all of your ingredients before you get started.

chilies, onion, and a pretty knife

In a large pot, heat up the oil and add the chilies and onion.  Cook for 5ish minutes over medium-high heat, until the onions get fragrant, soft, and start to turn golden.  Add in the garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook for another couple of minutes.  The aromas here are incredible — as Erik said, “I could just eat that right now… but it would probably be a bad idea.”  Indeed.

resist the urge to shovel this into your face

Empty the can of tomatoes into a bowl, liquid and all.  Crush them with your hands — I ended up picking out some of the tougher “core” bits that wouldn’t crush nicely, so if you come across those, feel free to do the same to avoid having stringy bits of tomato in your shakshuka.  Add the tomatoes, plus the extra 1/2 c of water, to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and let that simmer away for about 15 minutes.  Keep stirring it every few minutes, and watch for it to thicken just a bit — you want this.  After the 15 minutes, season to taste with salt.

starting to look right

At this point, it’s time to crack your eggs into the sauce.  This was scary for me!  Erik suggested cracking the eggs into a bowl first, just to be safe with shells and the unlikely possibility of a bad egg, so I ended up doing that and felt a bit more comfortable.  Either way, crack your six whole eggs into the sauce (we did five around the perimeter and one in the center).

egged -- and un-set

Cover the pot and let the eggs cook until the yolks have set, which takes around 5 minutes.  Using a spoon (we found this easiest with a regular table/soup spoon), baste the eggs with the sauce — which means, if you are unfamiliar with basting, just pour the sauce over top of the eggs, being sure not to disturb them as you do this.

Sprinkle the parsley and the crumbled feta over the shakshuka, heat up or toast some pitas to go with, and serve.  This divides nicely into six portions, so if you’re planning a meal for six, you’re welcome!  It does keep for a couple days, but it’s much better the first day, when the eggs are still runny when you break into the yolk.  It’s just deliciously warm, both in terms of temperature and spice level.  Enjoy!

close-up yum

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