Shakshuka: eggs with peppers and tomatoes

ShakshukaThis cheering dish of eggs on a bed of spicy pepper and tomato sauce is perfect for brunch or a homely lunch. After a morning of errands, we were restored by a dish of shakshuka eaten with a loaf of the excellent sourdough from the Quality Chop House shop.

If entertaining, you could cook the vegetables ahead of time, then just reheat and add the eggs when you’re ready to eat. These quantities are for two, if eating it on its own for lunch, but would feed four as part of a brunch menu.

1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 leek
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
½-1 red chilli
1 tin tomatoes
salt and pepper
4 eggs
coriander or parsley to serve

Peel, halve and slice the red onion, and trim and slice the leek. The leek is strictly unorthodox, but is a nice addition. Remove the core and seeds from the peppers and slice into thin strips – you could use two red peppers, or red and yellow ones if you prefer. The peppers I used were quite small, so you might find one big one is enough. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Add the onions, then the leeks, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure they don’t catch. Peel and mince the garlic and add to the pan.

The amount of chilli you use depends on how much heat you like and how hot your chillies are – I used half a small hot chilli, chopped and with most of the seeds taken out. You could also use chilli powder if you don’t have a fresh chilli to hand. Add the chilli and sliced peppers to the pan and continue to cook for about five minutes until they are starting to soften. Add the tomatoes – but not the juice from the can – and crush them into the vegetables. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. You can prepare it ahead up to this point, in which case be sure to heat the vegetables through before you add the eggs.

The vegetables should all have softened and amalgamated. Make four indentations in the top of the sauce, and crack an egg into each one. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, to give firm whites and slightly soft yolks – however, this will vary according to your pan and stove, so keep an eye on them, and you will need longer if you like your yolks cooked through.

Chop a handful of coriander leaves or parsley and sprinkle over before serving with some good bread to mop up the delicious sauce.



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