After a week spent away from Providence, you might return home to discover that you have amassed eggs in your refrigerator over break. Luckily, eggs do not spoil quickly and can last up to a month if properly stored. If like me you are scrambling to use up your eggs before receiving yet another carton on Thursday, try making shakshuka, a simple yet flavorful recipe perfect for using up leftovers!
Shakshuka is a staple food across most of the Middle East (and also on my dinner table). The dish originated in North Africa, and like many great meals there are as many versions as there are cooks who have proclaimed it their own. It is traditionally made in a cast iron pan or a tagine but also can be cooked in any run of the mill frying pan. At its simplest, shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce laden with onions and peppers. Yemenites put a spin on this quick and easy meal by adding a dollop of zhoug, a fiery green paste that brings tears to the eyes. Israelis prefer to eat their shakshuka for breakfast with a pile of warm pita or challah served on the side. I on the other hand like my shakshuka cooked with a healthy dose of vegetables. I throw whatever leftover vegetables I have in the pan while the peppers cook for an extra hearty dish. Spinach and eggplant is a particularly good combination. I always top my shakshuka off with za'atar, a middle eastern spice. Whatever your preferences, shakshuka is the perfect meal to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 onions, roughly chopped or sliced
- 2-3 bell peppers, cut into strips
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 3 tsp. paprika
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped (optional)
- 4-5 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (you can also use 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes)
- 4-6 free-range eggs
- 1 tsp. harissa
- ½ cup labneh or thick yogurt
- 1 ¼ cups crumbled feta cheese
- 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro for serving
- In a large skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and then add your onions. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. If you are using a skillet turn your oven on to 375 degrees.
- Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in cumin, paprika, and cayenne and cook 1 minute. (Also add your harissa at this point if you are choosing to use it for extra heat.)
- Add your bell pepper and sauté them for about 10 minutes until the peppers soften.
- Add the tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in salt and pepper. (If you are using feta cheese, add it here.)
- Create dips in the tomato sauce using your spoon that you will place your eggs in.
- Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Cook on the stove until the whites of the eggs have come together but are still raw. At this point you can transfer your shakshuka to the oven if it is in a skillet. Otherwise, cover your frying pan. Cook for 7-10 minutes until eggs are fully set.
- Let cool. Serve your shakshuka with labneh and/or sprinkled with cilantro if desired.