Recipes

Shakshuka

Straightforward vegetable dish of Middle East origin is often found served in some form for brunch in many cafes. It is however also a great supper dish, which can pack a bit of punch if you use lots of chilli or a chilli paste.

 Its beauty is the main mixture can be made ahead of time ~ it improves flavour if you do this and it can then be re-heated in the oven or on the stove top and on the table within 15 minutes. This is a purely vegetable version but chorizo, bacon, beans, even feta or cheese can be added.

You will need for 4 people:

Olive oil and butter to cook the vegetables in
3 Red Capsicum ~ deseeded and large dice
1 medium eggplant or several Lebanese eggplants, large dice
6 very ripe tomatoes ~ skinned, de seeded roughly and then roughly chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced – or more for hotter (or a chilli paste)
1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
1 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar
water
4 free range eggs (1 per person or more per person if you wish)
Yoghurt and chopped coriander for serving

Method

Using a large frypan heat the oil and butter (cover the base well as the eggplant will absorb the oil) and then add the diced capsicums and eggplant. Cook on a moderate heat for at least 10 minutes, checking they are not burning, sticking or if running out of oil add some more!

Once they are well softened add the fresh tomatoes, chilli, tomato paste, paprika and sugar and continue to stir well to combine all the ingredients. Add about a ¼ cup of water, continue stirring to make it saucy and then simmer fro another 15 minutes or more. If it goes too dry add a little more water.

The longer it cooks the more depth of flavour. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you wish.

This mixture can be made the day before and kept in a container in the fridge where again it will develop more flavour.

To serve there are 2 ways to finish this dish:

One way is on top of the stove. Into the frypan make a little well for each egg, spaced around the pan…pop the whole raw egg in and continue to simmer until the egg is cooked to your liking. Baste the eggs with cooking liquid if needed .Either serve from the pan on the table or plate up.

The second way to serve is to put the vegetable mixture into individual oven proof dishes and again break the egg into a well and then oven for about 10/15 minutes until egg is cooked to your liking ~ bate the eggs if needed to finish the tops! An oven with a grill/fan option works well with this ~ or you can just put them under a moderate grill (just make sure the mixture is warm if you do this.

Serve scattered with chop coriander leaves, fresh yoghurt

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