Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Shakshouka is pretty delicious, and you can do a lot of different things with it. This one is a loose North-African adaptation, but I don't claim to be 100% anything, so I added some of my own spin on this. It's also a perfectly easy Tuesday night meal, or for whenever the heck you want. Hell, have it for brunch. Throw some vodka on top. It's like a bloody, without all the cups.
OK, don't really do that, but I guess you could.
1 tbsp butter
2 red bell peppers
1 good sized red onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 white button mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup of very good, flavourful stock. Your choice. Don't use possum.
A nice big handful of kalamata olives, pitted
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, or the equivalent of concasse, if you feel like doing all of that stuff with tomatoes. (I don't really think it makes a difference, but whatever floats your grandma down the stream, while she sings...)
2 tbs cumin
1 tbs coriander
2 tbs curry powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast peppers for about 20 minutes, maybe more, maybe less. I like them to have a good char on the outside, but not be dried out, on fire, or burnt. Once they are out, set them aside to cool enough to be handled. DO NOT PEEL. Once cooled sufficiently to the touch, place in food processor, or blender, and blend. Set aside, until ready to use.
Finely chop onion, garlic, and olives. Separately, please. (The olives don't actually go into the pan for quite some time, but it's just better to have everything chopped up and ready to go beforehand, so you DON'T BURN THINGS.) Slice mushrooms.
Place butter and onion into the pan. Saute until they are all sweaty and wanton looking. Then, add the mushrooms. Do the same to them, until it looks like some kind of obscene orgy. Yeah, baby, this is when you add the garlic. Do the garlic thing for a minute, then add the spices, except for the cinnamon. You want these to toast, but again, DON'T BURN ANYTHING!!! DON'T DO IT. AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!
Where were we? Oh right. Next, add the stock, and lime juice. This will deglaze the pan a little, getting most of that sweet, toasty goodness off of the bottom. Add the tomatoes, and the peppers.
Stir this for a few minutes, until it thickens up. Add the cinnamon. I like to add this, this way, because I just want a whisper of cinnamon (yes, I did just impersonate Niles from "Frasier" as I typed this out.) I don't want the cinnamon to be too intense in this.
Add the finely chopped olives, then salt to taste. Do this now, before the eggs go in. It's hard to salt things when they can't move.
At this point, I like to turn the heat off, and transfer half of the mixture into a separate pan of the same size. You can, of course, reserve half of this for another day as leftovers if you are only serving 2 people. (This recipe serves four with a bit of sauce left over.)
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then begin to make wells in your sauce, with the back of a large serving spoon. This will serve as the sweet little cradle for your egg.
Crack your eggs, one at a time, into a small custard cup, or ramekin. This ensure you have good eggs, and also ensures you don't break your yolks, trying to get them into the pan. Slide the eggs into the little wells, until you have what you want.
I like to grate a little manchego cheese on top of each egg, but you could also use parmesan, or some other salty cheese. Feta is fabulous with this, as well.
Place lids on each pan, and turn the heat to medium. Check every couple of minutes or so. You want the tops to be set, but the yolks to be a bit on the liquid side. It's OK to err on the side of undercooked here, because the sauce will be very hot, and the eggs will continue to cook for a wee bit longer, once you bowl them up.