Have you guys heard of shakshuka before? It's a breakfast dish I've been making for years without knowing it had an official name, and without knowing that other people make it too. It's basically a tomato, onion and pepper stew that you cook eggs on top of. Can you imagine anything better for breakfast? Hardly possible.
I've never been a sweet breakfast person. Sure the pictures of pancakes stacked high and waffles dripping with maple syrup look incredible, but what I really crave is something warm and savoury.
Which do you prefer: sweet or savoury breakfasts?
If you're on team savoury, like me, you're going to love shakshuka.
I've always thought of it as a kind of breakfast skillet and have made versions of it for ages, like that Spicy Chorizo Breakfast Skillet I shared with you a while back.
It's a funny thing to find out that other people (like, whole other countries full of people) have been cooking the same thing as you. When my sister and I were kids we used to put honey on our aged cheddar cheese. The first time I saw honey on a cheese and charcuterie platter I genuinely felt ripped off. It was like someone had stolen our best idea. I felt a little like that when I first stumbled upon shakshuka.
Apparently shakshuka is popular breakfast dish served throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
I spent quite a few months travelling around the Middle East several years ago but never ran across shakshuka. If I'm ever fortunate enough to spend some more time in that fascinating part of the world I'll have to make sure I get my hands on some. I love going places and trying the authentic version of a dish. It's the best, right?
Making shakshuka is super simple and involves only 3 easy steps:
- Caramelize the onions
- Simmer the onions with tomatoes, peppers and spices till it thickens
- Add the eggs and let them cook
A Few Words About Cooking the Eggs
You can cook the eggs on the stovetop, if you like. You will need to cover the pan so that the whites cook through. The eggs won't look as pretty if you do it this way but they will still taste great.
If you cook the eggs in the oven it can be a little hard to tell if they are done. 5 minutes will usually do it. Keep an eye on the yolks, not the whites, to judge if they are done. The whites will look undercooked but it is because of the moisture from the pan, not that they are actually undercooked.
Make Ahead Shakshuka
If you are making this for brunch (i.e. Christmas morning) and want to make your life as simple as possible, you can make most of this ahead of time. Prepare the stew up until the point where you add the eggs (don't make the eggs ahead!) then let it cool and put it in your fridge. The next morning all you have to do is heat it until it is bubbling on your stovetop, add the eggs then pop it in you oven for 5 minutes. Easy!
Harissa is a North African spice paste that is absolutely delicious. It is available at many well stocked super markets and Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you live in Vancouver you can find it at The Gourmet Warehouse and if you live in the United States you can find it online at Abe's Market.
If you make this Make Ahead Shakshuka, make sure to snap a pic and tag @theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on your photos. I love seeing TEM recipes you create.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (you can get away with less if you're using a non-stick pan)
- 1 ½ large onions, diced, about 3 cups
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes (see note)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ cup goat or feta cheese
- 6 eggs
- A handful of flat leafed parsley and some good quality olive oil to finish
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the peppers and onions are very soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the harissa, cumin paprika and turmeric to the pot and let it cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, honey, red wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and stir till everything is mixed together well. Let it cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce is quite thick. Add the goat cheese or feta and stir it through. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Make 6 small holes in the sauce and carefully crack an egg into each one. I find this easiest to do by cracking an egg into a small bowl and then pouring it into the hole in the sauce.
- Put the skillet in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes to finish cooking. Do watch the eggs carefully as they are a little tricky to see when they are done. I find they often look under cooked when they are actually cooked through. The easiest way I've found to check them is simply by gently touching the top of the yolk. You want the yolk to be soft.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, sprinkle the top with parsley and serve it right away.