For a savory start to your day one morning or even a great lunch, try poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions with cumin, paprika and cayenne. Shakshuka’s present egg and tomato-based recipe originated in Tunisia but is popular in the Middle East and North Africa. This hearty Middle Eastern delight is cheap to make and very satisfying.
I love one skillet meals. With this spicy dish, you begin by making the sauce in an oven-ready frying pan on the stove. I suggest a cast iron skillet. The dish was invented to use all those over ripe tomatoes that are too soft for a salad. Great idea for the summer. If you rarely see those over ripe tomatoes in your area, then try using whole canned tomatoes with a little lemon juice and sugar. Drop them when using fresh tomatoes and cook sauce longer. This summer this would be a great sauce to make when using up all your fresh tomatoes from the garden. Store in the fridge and use in the mornings or even evenings for a fast meal.
After the sauce is ready, add each egg carefully to nestle in the sauce and transfer to the oven to complete the cooking. Serve with crusty bread. Traditionally pitas and challah were used, but it’s great with any hearty whole grain bread. Add a fresh green salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions with a vinaigrette for a perfect brunch. Feel free to adjust spices to your family’s taste. If you prefer more spicy, adjust the red peppers to suit your taste buds from 1 to 2 or 3. For a vegan version, replace the eggs with sautéed eggplant. There are many variations on this dish and I say make this your own.
Savory Shakshuka, Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Use organic when available
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 red pepper seeded & finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 28-oz canned whole peeled tomatoes in their juice or 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (for canned tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons sugar (for canned tomatoes)
- 4 to 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Optional: crumbled feta cheese
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C)
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep cast-iron skillet
- Add onion and sauté until onion is golden
- Add peppers & continue cooking until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes
- Stir in garlic, cumin and paprika and sauté one minute more
- Add tomatoes & break them apart with a large spoon
- Stir in sugar & bring to a boil
- Reduce heat slightly and simmer 15-20 minutes (longer if tomatoes are fresh)
- Stir occasionally until sauce has thickened and most of the liquid is gone
- Add salt to taste & lemon juice, stir
- Make dents in sauce and add the eggs evenly around the skillet
- Place the skillet in the oven & cook until the egg whites are set about 10 minutes
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and (optional) feta
- Serve with bread
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