Friday, October 23, 2015

Food Friday: Shakshouka

It's been a long time since I've done a Food Friday recipe. To make up for it I give you one of my favorite things to make.


As I have mentioned on other food fridays, this is not a foody blog and I am not a photographer. You are going to see poorly lit shots of the mess that is my kitchen. A lot of the mess  was actually made during the cooking process since the pan was a bit too small. I don't know why I am defending myself this is my blog :)
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Shakshouka is a North African dish of poached eggs in peppers, tomatoes, and onions. The final result provides a lot of flavor, is  good for you, and easy to make. With a basic starting recipe, shakshouka can be versatile in how you spice it and what you can add. People eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let's get to it.


Ingredients:


  • Medium sized onion (diced)
  • Large red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1-3 cloves of minced garlic (depends on how much you like garlic)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes or equivalent(I used whole peeled since it is what I had)
  • 3ish eggs
  • cumin 
  • paprika (not pictured)
  • cayenne pepper 
  • chilli powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • handful of parsley (actually important)
  • tbsp of olive oil (not pictured)

Preparation:

I recommend preparing this in a large saute pan with a lid.  I used my cast iron skillet since it was clean and at hand. If you look closely at the pictures you can see it was almost not big enough. In fact some spillage occurred because of its size. I ended up using the lid from the saute pan anyway in the final stage. 

Slowly heat the oil over low heat in the pan while you dice up the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onions to the pan and let them soften over low heat for 4 to five minutes.  Then add the garlic and let it all soften for another 5 minutes or so. While this is going on dice up the red pepper.


Now stir in the red pepper and give the whole thing another good five minutes to continue softening everything. I think I actually gave it like 10 minutes.


Now add the diced tomatoes with all the juice from the cans.  I had whole tomatoes so I had to use my wooden spatula to smoosh them into smaller chunks. No you season the dish.  I am not going to give specific amounts. Season to your specifications. I dumped a whole bunch of cumin and paprika in mine. I like it nice and spicy.  Let this mixture simmer for a bout 8 minutes. It should start to reduce a bit before moving onto the next step. 



Now add the eggs. Crack the egg and dumped them carefully right into the juice. We are going to poach these eggs in the spicy saucy goodness. I like to dish some of the sauce over the eggs just to make sure I get as much flavor as possible. Then cover the dish and let it simmer from between 10 - 15 minutes. I went with 15 since I didn't want the yokes to be runny. If you want a a softer yoke only cook it fifteen minutes.


Now comes the last but important part. Sprinkle over a good bit of parsley. Your think you can skip the parsley. It's just a useless visual garnish that nobody wants anyway. WRONG!  The parsley adds an important mild bitter flavor to the concoction of tastes we have filled this dish with. Now I have made shakshouka without the parsley and it is still excellent but It tastes noticeably better to me with the parsley added. 


Servings, Storage, and Reheating:

This serves 2 or possibly 3 if you have something else or it is a light meal. I've found that the eggs don't reheat well. So I make sure to eat all the eggs during the first sitting. That usually leaves me with a good half if not more of the vegetable mixture. This can easily be stored in some plastic ware and then reheated in the microwave for a few minutes.  It makes a great side for something the next night. I particularly like pairing with a pork chop.

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