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Shakshuka Eggs with Feta
Shakshuka may be at the apex of eggs-for-dinner recipes, though in Israel it is a breakfast food, a bright, spicy start to the day with a pile of pita or challah served on the side. (It also makes excellent brunch or lunch food.) It’s a one-skillet recipe of eggs baked in a tomato-red pepper sauce spiced with cumin, paprika, and cayenne. First, you make that sauce, which comes together fairly quickly on top of the stove, then you gently crack each of the eggs into the pan, nestling them into the sauce. The pan is moved into the oven to finish. (We use individual cast iron pans that hold one serving of 2 eggs). Shakshuka originated in North Africa, and like many great dishes, there are as many versions as there are cooks who have embraced it. This one strays from more traditional renditions by adding crumbled feta cheese, which softens into creamy nuggets in the oven’s heat.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne or to taste
- 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with their juices, coarsely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper plus more as needed
- 5 ounces feta crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 lb. Merguez sausage or other Sausage chopped Optional
- Chopped cilantro for serving
- Hot sauce for serving
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. If you want to incorporate meat in this recipe, use about ½ pound of ground beef or ground lamb or Merguez sausage. Cook the meat first in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until fully browned, then add it to the Shakshuka sauce to simmer along before adding the eggs. This is also a recipe where you can incorporate other vegetables as well. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, Feta and serve with hot sauce.
What is Shakshuka? And where is it from?
Egg Shakshuka is a simple one-skillet dish of gently poached eggs in a tasty mixture of simmering tomatoes, green peppers, onions and garlic. A few spices are added, and they may vary slightly from one recipe to another.
Traditional Shakshuka originally came from North Africa--Tunisia is said to be its place of birth--but it is quite popular in the Middle East and you'll find variations of it in Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Egypt and many other places.
Included in many cafes’ breakfast/ brunch sections, Shakshuka and more over Menemen which is a delicacy of Turkish cuisine. Dishes similar to these are Strapatsada in Greece, Piperade in Spain, Huevos rancheros in Mexico, and Uova Piccante
in Purgatorio in Italy, while some menus in the UK list Baked Eggs. What ever you call it, is a feast that is made from tomatoes, green peppers, onions , olive oil and eggs.