We are big fans of breakfast for dinner in our household but finding something outside of the normal carb, eggs, bacon routine that both Schraver and I like (and was easy enough to throw together on a weeknight) took some time. Don’t get me wrong I’ll never turn down a waffle, but sometimes I just want something a little different. This Shakshuka is warm and filling, easy to put together, and a great way to use up extra veggies in the fridge.
What is Shakshuka
I have seen Shakshuka recipes floating around on the web for years, several of my favorite You Tube cooking channels have featured it at one point or another, but I had never tried it myself. Shakshuka, per Wikipedia, is a Northwest African dish that originated after the introduction of tomatoes sometime in the mid 16th century. Eggs are poached in a tomato based sauce with garlic and onions. Spices often include cumin, paprika and cayenne, adding heat and warmth to this delicious dish.
My recipe is loosely based around the idea of Shakshuka. There are many different variations depending on region and ethnicity, so why not add my own version to the list? Shakshuka is also one of those dishes I make whenever I have extra veggies hanging out in the fridge. I’ve added, carrots, celery, eggplant, okra, potatoes, green beans, corn, kohlrabi, and turnips. Whatever odds and ends that need to be used up can be dumped right in. For those of us that are canners and preservers this is also a great way to do something unique with your canned diced tomatoes and beans.
I think the thing that really makes this dish so unique is the spices, specifically Harissa. Harissa is a spice blend from Northwest Africa made up of roasted red peppers, caraway, garlic paste, coriander, cumin among other herbs and spices. Despite having a base of chili peppers, Harissa doesn’t have much heat, its more of a warmth. It’s a feeling I associate with cinnamon and nutmeg, and fall comfort staples, but on the savory side. I use a regular store bought bleand, but you can also make your own blend at home (All Recipes has a homemade Harissa powder recipe here).
‘Eggs…preferably breakfast but not necessarily’
Shakshuka is often served as a breakfast dish, but with the added veggies and beans it can absolutely pass as a dinner dish as well. Served with some toasted bread, over rice, or completely on its own, it’s filling and versatile. Clean up is a breeze because everything is made in one pan, and left overs are just as delicious the next day.
The one thing I will mention is that a lot of the recipes on the web featuring Shakshuka are made in a cast iron pan. If you have a well seasoned cast iron, the acids in the tomatoes should not be an issue with the short cooking time. If your cast iron is new, or has not been seasoned recently, it would be best to make this in a regular sauté pan. Acidic foods can interact with the cast iron and cause off flavors and damage your pan, so err on the side of caution.
1 Small Onion
1 Clove Garlic
2 Tbsp of fat (oil, lard, tallow or butter)
1 – 2 Cups Diced Vegetables
2 Pint Diced Tomatoes or a 32oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Tomato Puree
1 1/2 tsp. Harissa
1/2 tsp. Cumin
2 to 3 oz Feta Cheese
1/2 Pint Black Beans or 15oz Can
1/2 pint Canned Beef or Sausage
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Prepare all of your vegetables by chopping roughly into the same size pieces. I like to go for a medium to small chop so everything cooks faster.
I used carrots, peppers and turnips harvested from the garden right before the last frost, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Finely dice your onion and mince the clove of garlic.
Place a deep cast iron pan or alternatively, a metal sauté pan on medium heat and add your fat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for one to two minutes.
Add the rest of your vegetables and sauté until they begin to soften slightly.
Once your vegetables have softened add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, meat if using, and harissa spice to the pan and mix until everything is combined.
Simmer on medium low, stirring frequently for 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Salt and pepper to taste.
Using the back of your spoon, make 4-6 wells in the sauce large enough to hold your eggs.
Carefully crack one egg into each well.
Cover with lid and simmer on low for 5-10 minutes, or until eggs have reached your preferred level of done. I like my white set and my yolks slightly set, Schraver prefers his yolks completely runny.
Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and parsley if desired before serving.
- 1 Small Onion
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Fat (oil, lard, tallow or butter)
- 1 to 2 Cups Diced Vegetables
- 2 Pints Diced Tomatoes (or ~ 32oz Can of Diced Tomatoes)
- ¼ Cup Tomato Paste
- ½ pint Canned Beef or Sausage
- ½ Pint Black Beans or 15oz Can
- 1 ½ tsp. Harissa
- ½ tsp. Cumin
- 4 to 6 Eggs
- 2 to 3 oz Feta Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Parsley (Optional)
Finely dice onion and mince garlic.
Chop vegetables into roughly even medium sized pieces.
Add fat to pan on medium heat.
Add onion and garlic, sauté 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until they begin to soften slightly,
Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, harissa, cumin, beef and beans and mix.
Simmer uncovered on medium low for 20-30 minutes until sauce has thickened
Once the sauce has thickened, make small wells and crack an egg into each well.
Cover pan with lid and poach eggs 5 minutes or until they are set to your liking
Top with feta cheese and parsley before serving.