The second I took a bite of Shakshuka (a piping hot, hearty, and maybe even magical egg stew), I was transported back to an ancient time. I began to speak in my native Hebrew tongue and I said unto my neighbors…
Stop schvitzing already, I won’t get biblical on you. But I did have this dish in the land of Israel some years back and STILL salivate at the very thought of it. I finally mustered up the courage to use my cast iron pan (even after the Cast Iron Dreams fiasco) to make this delicious brunch dish. If you’re in the same boat as I was, here are some instructions on how to clean your cast iron pan, as well as how to tell if you’ve ruined your pan.
Shakshuka (pronounced like shock-shoe-kah) is a North African dish that made its way to Israel, becoming a wildly popular brunch item (and in some circles) dinner. If you say its name enough times (shakshuka, shakshuka, shakshuka) you’ll be haunted by Bloody Mary. No, I’m just kidding, but maybe don’t look in mirrors for a while?
What will ACTUALLY happen is you’ll start to understand why shakshuka means “all mixed up.” It’s a jumble of tomato chunks, onions, red pepper, garlic, spices, and yummy eggs. There are many varieties (like lamb meatball shakshuka), but for today we’ll stick to the basics.
While I couldn’t get my hands on the recipe from the Israeli cooking Bible, a.k.a. The Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, I was able to find very apt cooking instructions by David Lebovitz and (most) ingredients by Jackie Newgent.
Shakshuka, shakshuka, shakshuka… (now I’m just typing it because it’s fun to say).
Simple Shakshuka Recipe
Servings: 2 hungry, hungry hippos
Time: 35-40 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (14 oz) of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 eggs
- *optional: feta cheese or sour cream
- *optional: sourdough bread
- We’re all cumin. Measure out all of your spices ahead of time. Trust me, this will save you time later on the recipe (and give you some real POM).
- Cast iron chef. Grab your cast iron pan, add the olive oil, and heat over medium to high heat. When the pan is sufficiently warm, add the diced onions and minced garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and wilty.
- Spice it up! Add the red pepper, salt, pepper, and spices to the pan. Cook for one minute, stirring CONSTANTLY, so the ingredients will start to smell incredibly delicious.
- Tomato, tomato (doesn’t look very different, does it?). Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, honey, and vinegar. Mix until it’s evenly combined. Then, reduce to medium heat and cook for 12-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the sauce is thicker, but still sloshes when you shake the pan.
- De-heat it. Turn off the heat. If you want to use feta at this time, press cubes of it into the tomato sauce. If you’re using sour cream, wait till the end! Using the back of a spoon, make 4 indentations in your stew (preferably far apart). Crack one egg into each indentation. Drag the spatula gently through the egg whites, so they start to mingle with the tomato sauce. Be careful not to poke at the egg yolks! Turn the heat back on low and simmer for 10 minutes.
*Note: keep mixing the egg whites with the tomato sauce as both continue to cook.
- How do you like your eggs? Cover your cast iron pan with a lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes (depending on your egg preferences, cook 3 minutes for runnier eggs and 5 minutes for almost cooked through eggs).
- Don’t be sour… If you didn’t add feta already, then add a dollop of sour cream + enjoy!
Serve in a cast iron pan. Seriously, it makes it twice as yummy (this is a certified fact that definitely isn’t made up). Complete the picture with a crusty white bread, such as a good sourdough, to mop up the rest of the tomato sauce once you’re done devouring the eggs. You’ll be in heaven.
Quick Clean Up
Make your clean up even quicker. While the shakshuka is finishing up its last 15 minutes, start cleaning! Now all you’ll have left is the cast iron pan. Remember, don’t use soap on your pan. Don’t scrub it with a sponge. We’re talking warm water and that’s about it. Click here for more cast iron care instructions.
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