A classic dish from North Africa and the Middle East, shakshuka is great for any meal. Eggs are softly poached in a spiced tomato and bell pepper based sauce. With eggs as central players, that means shakshuka can be served up for breakfast or brunch, but its heartiness allows it to double as a filling lunch or dinner.
Optionally add sausage like chorizo or merguez, top it with feta or another soft crumbling cheese, sliced avocados, or halved cherry tomatoes. Serve this dish alongside pita or lavash, rice pilaf, or a hearty crusty bread.
This recipe serves 3-4.
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
28 oz can tomatoes, whole or crushed OR 2 lb roma tomatoes, cut into 1” pieces reserving seeds and juices
6-8 large eggs
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper
Sumac or za’atar, optional
In a wide deep skillet set over high, heat up about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the bell pepper and onion in an even layer. Let the vegetables sit for a couple minutes undisturbed to develop a char. Stir and allow to sit and char again. Keep repeating this until the vegetables are soft, brown, and charred in spots, 8-10 minutes in all.
Lower the heat to medium. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Then add paprika, cumin, and coriander; stir another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, add all the juices and crush the tomatoes by hand, being sure to remove the hardy stem section. If using fresh tomatoes, crush the tomatoes by hand as you add them to the skillet. The tomatoes should be somewhat chunky. Stir through, and bring to a low simmer. Lower the heat to maintain the simmer, then place a lid on top. Stew the canned tomatoes 10-15 minutes, fresh tomatoes 25-35 minutes or until they have fully softened.
At the end of stewing time, add half the cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir
Using a large spoon, make a deep well in the center of the stew, ensuring some sauce remains in the bottom. Crack an egg into this well and spoon some stew over the edges to contain it. You might find it helpful to crack the egg into a bowl then pouring it into the well. Repeat creating wells and cracking eggs around the center of the skillet. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, then replace the lid and stew 6-8 minutes until egg whites have mostly set, but the yolk remains runny.
Sprinkle the entire surface with sumac or za’atar, if using, then top with the remaining cilantro.
Taking care to keep eggs intact, spoon the stew into bowls and serve with lavash, pita, or rice.
Buy the spices you need to make this recipe!