Hope you had a lovely weekend and Monday wasn’t too painful.
Mine wasn’t too bad. Mondays are usually pretty busy and so the day tends to fly by. Came home and realised I didn’t have much going in the fridge and didn’t reeeeally fancy visiting the supermarket either. Don’t know if it’s just me, but my local Tesco is always rammed on a Monday evening. I know, it’s always busy, but Saturday after midday, Sunday 4pm onwards and Monday evenings, after work are particularly bad from my experience. Is this a thing? Is it just me?
Mr Man and our good friend Jackie are on a get fit quick scheme. They’ve got two months after which (I quote): “whoever looks better / the one with the tightest shirt without ripping wins…” *facepalm* This was later refined to the one who can do the most pull ups; run the longest + fastest; bench the most; loses the most weight that will reign triumphant. Anyway, I decided to invite myself to this little party. Realistically, I’m not deluded, the only one I have a chance with is running the longest and I might as well try lose some pounds on the way. With that in mind, I decided to brave the crowds and talked Mr Man into driving me to Tesco, to buy broccoli, and lots of it. Ha.
Back to the point. Let’s talk shashuka, which I made over the weekend. The origins of this dish stem from North Africa and it’s gradually made it’s way over to Israel where it’s pretty popular from my understanding. Eggs and tomatoes are basically BFFs, bit like peanut butter and jam… There’s generally some kind of dish with this duo (tomatoes and eggs, not peanut butter + jam ) found across the world. The most famous is probably huevos rancheros. But back to shakshuka, my take on this is a rich sauce, packed with flavour, I was conservative with the chilli but feel free to toss in some more. I also used some tangy feta, again, an optional one, but in my mind, cheese and tomato are also pretty good chums. You can also try some merguez and/or aubergine. I think they’d get along quite well in this cast iron playground. Okay, I’m gonna stop with this ingredients = friends metaphor.
- 6 eggs
- 2 cans of plum tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon harissa spice
- Cayenne pepper to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon – up this if you want some actual heat!)
- 75g feta, crumbled
- Fresh parsley
- Toasted bread, for serving
- Finely dice your onion and chop your peppers into small cubes. Add these to a large frying pan and sweat down on a medium-low heat for around 15mins – 20mins in some olive oil. You want them softened with some colour and reduced to less than half the initial volume.
- Add the minced garlic cloves and stir around until fragrant.
- Add the cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and harissa spice and stir until well distributed.
- Crack open the cans of tomato and pour into a bowl, using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes to burst them, then add the pan. Fill one of the empty cans with cold water and add to the frying pan.
- Add around a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste as well as a generous pinch of sugar.
- Turn up the heat to medium and stir every few mins and cook off for around 40mins until the sauce thickens and the tomatoes release their natural sweetness. Ensure you taste test and adjust any seasonings as you deem fit.
- Whilst cooking the sauce down, preheat the oven to gas mark 5.
- Once done, take half your tomato sauce and place into a small cast iron pan. Spread out evenly and create little holes and carefully crack your eggs into these.
- Top with half the crumbled feta cheese and a generous sprinkling of salt and freshly cracked pepper. (I was only feeding three people but you can use it all in a large pan with six eggs and all the feta or reserve the other half for a second serving later down the line. It’ll keep in the fridge for a good couple of days in an airtight container.)
- Pop the pan into the oven for around 8-12mins depending on how well you want them cooked. I went for around the 10min mark. (Bare in mind, that the pan will remain hot and the eggs will continue to cook. By the time I’d finished snapping some pics, my eggs were barely runny…)
- Once done, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately with some toasted bread.
Yum! Enjoy… =)