Ah Shakshouka, how I love thee. So delicious, cheap and veggie, healthy and spicy and hot and warming on a damp, freezing cold night, shakshouka is one of our regular dinners. This is a fairly bastardised version of the probably much more traditional versions online, but I find this recipe does just the job for me. It also great for using up the bits and pieces out of the fridge, is high in protein and so immensely soothing to eat, like a big bowl of soup full of veg and spices and gloriously yolky-and-runny poached eggs. This is cobbled together from a few recipes and is kind of a vegetable-rich (and therefore better) version of Uova in Purgatorio, in my opinion. Again, Middle Eastern-inspired food makes great and flavoursome vegetarian food without skimping on the all-important protein.
Plus, look at ridiculously gorgeous it is. All that red and yellow! Mm. Makes enough for two very greedy people.
- 4 tbsp (1/4 of a cup) olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 400g tin of plum or chopped tomatoes
- 2 peppers (green and yellow are nice)
- 1/2 a white onion, diced
- 1 red chilli pepper
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cumin, chopped
- 1 tbsp paprika (use smoked if you have it)
- Handful of chopped parsley
- Handful of crumbled feta (in the above picture, I've used a bit of goat's cheese as an experiment, as we had no feta.. it was nice!)
- Hummus to serve, if you have it, and some toasted pita to scoop up the last bits.
You might cringe a bit at adding spoonful after spoonful of olive oil, but I urge you not to skimp on it, the veg need to soften and stew slightly, and the olive oil will help bring out the flavour so wonderfully. Heat the oil, and add the chilli pepper, the diced peppers, and the onion and stir over a medium-low heat until softening, around six minutes.
Add the garlic, cumin and paprika - feel free to chuck in more spices as you like, I like things stronger tasting than this recipe -and give it a quick stir for two minutes. By now the smell should be absolutely gorgeous.
If you're using plum tomatoes, tip the tin's worth into a bowl and use your hand to crush them up, otherwise just into the bowl with 4 tbsp (1/4 of a cup) of water. Heat up to boiling point, then reduce the heat to medium and leave to thicken.
Give it at least 5 minutes - the original recipe recommends about 15! But see how thick it's getting. You probably don't want it to reduce down to nothing, it's nice to have a bit of runny sloppiness in a dish like this. Add a good sprinkle of salt and use the back of a wooden spoon to make four indentations in four corners of the sauce and carefully break an egg into each indentation.
Put the lid on and give it about three to five minutes, until the white has set and the yolk has juuuuust cooked. Again, you don't want anything over-cooked or thickened here.
Right before it's time to eat, sprinkle over your parsley, and feta, and try to skilfully slop out of the pan with a wide spoon into a pasta bowl so it still looks pretty. Pita and hummus are lovely with this.
Credit where credit is due: inspired/modified from Smitten Kitchen