March 30, 2015

Shakshuka For Brunch

Move over pancakes. Take a back seat green eggs. See ya later pulled pork. There's a new brunch dish du jour and it goes by the name of Shakshuka. Hailing from North Africa by way of Israel, Shakshuka is a dish that is as impressive as it is simple; eggs poached in a fragrant, flavourful tomato sauce. For brunch (or lunch...or dinner), it doesn't get much better than this.

I've had Shakshuka a few times but, it's definitely become more popular and has been popping up on brunch menus across the city for awhile now. Most recently, I had it for breakfast in The Pigeon House in Clontarf and was so impressed by it that I decided I needed to try my hand at it at home.

I revisited an Ottolenghi recipe I remembered reading and combined it with a method featured on one of my favourite food sites  and came up with the following. It's easy, using ingredients any basic kitchen press would have, but incredibly satisfying - comfort food at its finest. If you are a carb-eater, you can serve it with hunks of toasted sourdough like they do at The Pigeon House. We had it as-is and it was filling and more than enough.

1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 medium pepper, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 eggs
parsley, sour cream and feta to serve

In a heavy bottomed pan, ideally cast iron, gently heat some olive oil. When bubbles start to form, add the onion and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and satuée for a few minutes more, taking care not to burn. Add the peppers and cook until softened.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes and add the tomato purée. Be generous with your spices - cumin is the cornerstone of this dish while paprika and cayenne add a smokey spiciness. Salt and pepper to taste, cover with a lid and allow the sauce to bubble away gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the sauce has a more paste-like texture, crack the eggs in, one by one. Cover the pan again and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes. You want the whites white and the yolks cooked but still runny. To serve, drizzle some sour cream, crumble some feta and sprinkle some fresh parsley.

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