On a recent trip to the Denver Central Market, I had my first taste of Shakshuka, a traditional North African dish of roasted peppers, tomatoes, and invigorating spices that creates a beautiful flavor. Two large eggs are perfectly poached in the sauce, something to eat with fresh bread for breakfast or as a hearty cold-weather meal when you need that flavor to give your mood a boost.
Coming home to Virginia, I’ve tried several versions. Of course, I found that Melissa Clark has once again proven steadfast with an easy recipe for any night of the week or brunch. With two fresh eggs from the chicken house, homemade bread, and tomatoes from the summer garden, this meal brought North Africa to the Northern Neck of Virginia. It was a very welcomed visit and perfect when you need a bit of warmth on a chilly fall day!
Here is a modified version of Melissa Clark’s recipe for Shakshuka. It serves 4 – 6 people, but is easy to scale up or down depending on how many you are serving. I highlight recommend a good crusty bread and salted butter served alongside for dipping. If you try it out, let me know how it goes. If you need help, come on over, and we’ll make it together!
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 3-4 large fresh tomatoes coarsely chopped OR 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
- 5 ounces (about 1 1/4 c.) crumbled feta cheese or something like a Bulgarian sheep’s cheese (very good!)
- 6 large eggs
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. I prefer a cast-iron skillet as it retains the heat beautifully when you serve it at the table.
- Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute.
- Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have released their juices and thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in crumbled feta. Note: If using fresh tomatoes, you may want to add more of less depending on their size and how juicy they are.
- Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.
I serve my eggs just when they’ve set, allowing the yolks to run and integrate with the sauce, making it rich and creamy. I serve one or two eggs per person.