There will be seasons in life where everything just magically falls into place.
You have time to hang the laundry on the line. You brew kombucha and make your own chicken stock and since the children are playing so nicely with their non-toxic, BPA free, fair trade beeswax coated Swedish-inspired wooden toys, you can make some sourdough bread, feed the chickens and arrange some flowers on your farmhouse table.
And then there are seasons where you pat yourself on the back for peanut butter and jelly before 6:30pm during the 47th episode of Phineas and Ferb while you search for clean pajamas in the laundry that’s piled on the dining room table.
We’ve had pb+j, and the occasional mac and cheese for dinner one too many times lately, so it was time for a change…
Thankfully, this colorful dish that looks gourmet is really anything but. It’s simple to put together, can simmer as long as you’d like, is loaded with veggies and can feed a large family on a dime.
Shakshuka (“shock-shoe-kuh” – kind of fun to say, huh?) is a North African dish, and has become a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, where it’s often served with artichokes, beans or really any other spare vegetable that you’d like to throw in to bulk up the pot.
The recipe I’m sharing below is a simple rendition with common vegetables and flavorful spices that I modified from this recipe. Most Shakshuka recipes are simply poached eggs in a spiced tomato sauce, but because I’m cooking for a small army, I realized it was easier to soft boil the eggs separately and serve them on top.
Shakshuka comes together quickly and can simmer for 10 minutes or all day (though all day is even better!). It’s amazing with a crusty loaf of bread, but is filling as a stand alone dish with some olives on the side (our favorite brand by far, but you’ll find a better price locally) or fresh fruit for dessert. And in the off chance that you have leftovers, it’s one of those dishes that is much better the second day.
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion peeled and diced
2-3 red or yellow bell peppers diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4-1/2 tsp of chili powder adjust to taste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp. ground caraway
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 c. tomato paste
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 Tbs. honey maple syrup or sweetener of choice
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups of fresh greens spinach and kale work great
feta cheese for topping
1 dozen eggs soft boiled
Sautee the onions, bell peppers and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until tender.
Reduce the heat to low and add all of the spices, coating the vegetables.
Sautee over low heat for 2-3 minutes, while stirring to prevent the spices from burning.
Add all of the tomatoes and the sweetener and simmer on medium/low for at least 10 minutes, but as long as you'd like (45 minutes seems to be the norm for us), being careful not to let the sauce thicken too much.
Just before serving, stir in the fresh greens, and simmer 5-10 more minutes, or just long enough that the greens start to wilt.
When Shakshuka is almost done, place 12 eggs in a large pot of cool water, that just covers the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, and let it boil rapidly for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and drain the water. Fill the pot with cool water to stop the eggs from cooking further and allow them to cool enough that you can peel them. Your eggs should be cooked, but have very soft yolks, which adds a creaminess to the tomato sauce when combined.
Serve, sprinkled with feta cheese and 1-2 soft boiled eggs per person, diced or broken up on top.
(Or 5-6 eggs for the growing teenager in your house...)