Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Step-by-step Shakshuka

Each year my workplace welcomes two or three young people, from a wide range of countries, to Canberra to work with our team for a month or so. My role includes managing the paperwork, answering all manner of questions, and finding a friendly homestay or temporary share house for them. Sometimes I struggle to find the interns a bed and on more than one occasion they've ended up camping out in my spare room. Luckily our student visitors are invariably delightful and sometimes we bond over a hot stove! The recipe I’m sharing here comes from an Israeli guy called Tomer and is called shakshuka. Apparently shakshuka (or shakshouka, or שקשוקה) is often eaten for breakfast in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, but it has become a dinner favourite in my household. I make it with plenty of home-grown chillies and sheep’s feta cheese, and always raise a glass of red to the absent Tomer when I tuck into it. It’s not the most photogenic of dishes, but is absolutely delicious. Cheers!

1 onion
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
1 red capsicum
splash of olive oil
about 800 grams tinned or fresh tomatoes, diced
1 red chilli, preferably fresh
parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika (to taste)
4 to 6 eggs (2 per person)

Chop the onion, garlic and capsicum into 1 cm cubes.

Fry the capsicum and chilli in the olive oil until soft.

Add the onion and garlic and fry until yellowish. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika, and stir well. Cook for a few minutes over low to medium heat, till some of the liquid evaporates.

Break the eggs on top of everything, trying to keep the yolks intact.

Spread chopped parsley over the top.

Cover pan and let cook for a few minutes until the egg white is actually white and the tomato sauce has evaporated some more. Ideally the whites will be soft, the yolks will still be a bit runny, the tomatoes not too runny and the bottom of the pan not too burned. Serve with bread (or serve without, if you need it gluten free.)

Serves two to three. Some other options are to spread small pieces of feta cheese on top just before serving, or (for carnivores) you could add spicy sausage pieces right before adding the onions and garlic.

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