Shakshouka it up


Shakshouka (or Shakshuka or Chachouka) is a Tunisian staple of eggs in spiced tomato gravy. It is easy to see why its so popular for a quick dinner or brunch at home- 1) it can be made in a single dish (always a plus!) like a cast iron skillet or tajine. 2) It has hearty complex flavors that will never give away how incredibly easy it is to make. And 3) it involves poached eggs!

I’ll also admit one of the reasons its one of my favorites is because of how much I love saying “Shakshouka”. Its such a beautiful and descriptive word! It literally means “to shake” in Hebrew or “mixture” in Tunisian Arabic. But it could have easily have been an exotic dance or perhaps a war cry :p Whatever emotion the word conjures up in your mind I bet now that you have heard it you are going to want to use it in a sentence!

I made it a few weekends ago on a slow Saturday morning in a cast iron skillet and it went from stove top to oven to the dining table till it was wiped clean with salty pull-apart artisanal bread. Do you really need more reasons to try this beauty?

Bon appetit.

What you need:

2-3 tb spoons olive oil

5 tomatoes finely chopped (or a whole 28oz can of peeled tomatoes, drained)

3-4 bird’s eye chilly (or thai chilly or jalapenos) finely chopped (we like ours spicy – you can tone it down!)

1 small yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

Sea salt (or regular salt) to taste

6 eggs

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Warm artisanal bread, for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chillies and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and transparent, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Add tomatoes and their liquid into the skillet and crush with a wooden spoon and mix it all together and continue to cook. You can add half a cup water, to this and reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Using the spoon, mix the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. and then transfer to oven (uncovered) to set eggs for 7 minutes (or longer if you want the yolks firmer).  Sprinkle shakshouka with feta and parsley and serve with bread, for dipping.


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