If you’ve gone to out for brunch in recent years, chances are you’ve come across shakshouka, a Middle Eastern tomato stew topped with eggs that packs aromatic heat of chili peppers, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. But shakshouka is more than just a trendy brunch dish. It is a traditional stew that has been embraced by many cultures around the Mediterranean.
Though its exact origins are hazy, the love for shakshouka has stretched from Spain to Morocco, through the Middle East and across the Ottoman Empire, which is Turkey today. In Yemen, sahawiq is a hot green paste, the Ottoman variant once had minced meat, and later on in shakshouka’s history, Jewish communities in the Ottoman Maghreb removed the minced meat and enjoyed a vegetarian variation. Serving the dish in a cast iron pan or tajine is thanks to Moroccan influence.
The shakshouka that many of us know and love today uses the meatless shakshouka from the Ottoman Maghreb as a base and adds eggs, which is a more recent addition contributed to the dish by Tunisian Jews.
When you consider the meaning of shakshouka, which is Arabic slang for “a mixture,” it seems fitting. Shakshouka is not only a mixture of ingredients, but a mixture of cultures who have influenced this delicious meal over several centuries.
Bring the heritage of shakshouka into your kitchen with this recipe courtesy of The Food Channel. To see how step by step how it’s done, watch this video. It may seem like a complex dish with layers of flavor, but this recipe makes it easy.
- 2 tablespoon of Gaea Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 small or 2 large shallots minced
- 1 medium orange or red pepper chopped into small pieces
- 1 large can or carton (26.5 oz) of diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tablespoon of Harissa
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 4 eggs
- Cilantro or parsley leaves
- 1 Heat frying pan on medium-high for 30 seconds then add minced shallots to frying pan. Sauté and stir on medium-high, then lower to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Add minced garlic to pan for about a minute on medium-low and stir.
- 2 Add chopped orange or red pepper into the pan for 3-4 minutes at medium-high and lower heat as it starts to sizzle.
- 3 Add tomatoes, bay leaf, Harissa, paprika, cumin, sea salt, and ground pepper to the pan. Continue to stir as the sauce simmers until it reduces in volume for about 8-10 minutes.
- 4 Remove bay leaf. Make a well (hole) in the sauce to create a space for each egg. Crack an egg into each well. Cover pan and cook for additional 4-5 minutes on medium or medium-low until you get the desired egg consistency you like.
- 5 Turn off burner, then sprinkle with cilantro or Italian parsley leaves.