Besides being really fun to say and inspiring you to sing, “Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan…” while cooking, this meal is a slam-dunk all the way around – as a breakfast, brunch, or dinner.
Shakshuka or Shakshouka, is a North African dish of poached eggs in tomato and chili peppers.
I recently learned about this meal from the master chef himself (Bobby Flay, anyone?) and I was intrigued to take it on. I found this version from the New York Times and the recipe has 5 stars from thousands of reviews. I figured, that couldn’t be a mistake.
While I do like the original NYT recipe as well, I felt it needed a bit more umph, something to chew on, and a bit of roasted peppery goodness.
Here’s what my pepper looked like roasting up in the toaster oven – that oil bathing beauty:
In Bobby Flay’s version he used some seasonings that sounded to me like the Batman baddie, Ra’s al Ghul – but I only added smoked paprika, which I find I just can’t get enough of. Here’s a hint, use fresh paprika when you can, it is so much better – anything older than 3 months just doesn’t taste that good.
Here’s a photo of my arsenal of ingredients used in this dish (minus the seasonings):
So, in my traditional style, here is the beefed up (ironic, since there is no beef) version.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and seeded, or
- 1 large pasilla or poblano pepper, roasted and seeded
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 package Madras Lentils or chickpeas, (optional)
- 7 ounces vegetarian sausage, (optional)
- 5 ounces feta cheese (or goat cheese for a creamier result)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/8 tsp sprinkle cayenne pepper, if desired for spice
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, for serving
- 1 ounce hot sauce, for serving (I prefer Cholula)
- If opting to roast your Pasilla, Poblano, or Red pepper, cover it with olive oil, place it on foil and bake for 20 minutes or so on 375. Turn the pepper every five minutes or so until black and bubbling. (I use the toaster oven to do this step.) When done, place into a bowl, cover it with seran wrap, and let it sweat for 10 minutes or so. This will help you get the skin off easier.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or so, until soft. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, both paprikas, and cook 1 minute. Pour in half the tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Add spinach and stir.
- This step is optional, but I add madras lentils and 2 links of vegetarian sausage to give this dish more substance. If you are making this for breakfast, you might choose to skip these ingredients.
- Peel the skin off of the pepper, then de-seed it. Add the other half of the tomatoes with the pepper into a blender and mix until fully blended. Stir into skillet and return to a simmer.
- Sprinkle the cheese on gently, but do not stir or mix this in. You want little puffs of cheese scattered throughout.
- Gently crack eggs one at a time into a cup first, then place into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on your pan and cook for an additional 15 minutes or so, until egg whites are set up but egg yolks are still runny. Once they are, take your pan off the heat immediately.
- Sprinkle with (cayenne pepper if desired,) cilantro. Serve with hot sauce and a hard, crusty bread (Ciabatta is my preference).
This is a pretty far cry from the original, but it comes out amazing and has enough substance to be a dinner meal vs. the traditional style where it is typically a breakfast or brunch item. If you are not a vegetarian, feel free to experiment with another type of meat.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 563Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 218mgSodium 1414mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 13gSugar 9gProtein 34g
This nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although alteredrecipe.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.