In honor of Yom Ha’azmaut (Israel Independence Day) today, I decided to make a traditional Israeli dish that I’ve always wanted to try – Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Sometimes keeping it simple is so important to the flavors and integrity of the dish and I think that’s the case with this recipe. As you all know, I love to add surprising and unique ingredients to my dishes (Gushers Meatballs anyone?) but I kept this one nice and clean. Since I’ve never made Shakshuka before, the adventure of trying a new dish was adventure enough for me.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 roasted red pepper
1/2 roasted green pepper
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
salt to taste
parsley for garnish
crusty bread for garnish
I began by roasting the peppers in the oven. You can use jarred roasted peppers but there’s nothing better than fresh roasted peppers right out of the oven! I rubbed the peppers with a little bit of olive oil and broiled in the oven for around 10 minutes, turning the peppers every few minutes to make sure all sides blackened nicely without burning. I then placed the peppers in a paper bag and set them aside for at least 5 minutes to steam. This process causes the skin of the peppers to loosen so they are easier to peel.
I took the hot peppers out of the paper bag, peeled the blackened skin right off and chopped the peppers in to bite size pieces. It’s as easy as that!
In a large pan, I cooked the onion in olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onion looked almost clear. I stirred in the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes and cooked for 30 seconds. I then added the roasted peppers and stirred to combine.
I added the crushed tomatoes and a sprinkling of salt then simmered the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Since I was eating this shakshuka for lunch and there was a lot of the tomato mixture in the pan, I separated out a few ladles of the mixture in to a bowl then continued to prepare my meal. I cracked 3 eggs on top of the tomato mixture in the pan, covered and continued to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the eggs were set.
I scooped the shakshuka in to a bowl and garnished with parsley and some crusty bread. Yum! The runny egg was so creamy and the tomato mixture was so flavorful and just a little bit spicy. If you want some added spice, you can throw in a bit of hot sauce or zhug at the end.
Now what to do with that extra tomato mixture that I set aside??? I put it right back in to the pan and simmered for another hour, stirring occasionally. The mixture thickened up considerably and became a beautiful and flavorful tomato chutney, also called matbucha in Hebrew. So if you want to just make a matbucha without the eggs, just follow all of the directions above, ignoring the eggs, and cook the mixture for 1-2 hours, until very thick. Just don’t forget to stir every once in a while so nothing burns.
The perfect dip with crusty bread or an exciting new lunch for my 20-month-old, Nora. I’m such a proud mommy!