Sunday dinner was bound to be a challenge. At our house, Sunday dinner revolves around some sort of meat: pot roast, chicken, pork chops, steak, whatever, and vegetables are a side dish. So Saturday I turned to the Internet and found a recipe for shakshuka. I’d never heard of it but it sounded delicious.

Shakshuka is a tradition North African dish. It’s a one dish meal, though we had it with bread, green salad and eggplant Parmesan.  Here’s the recipe:

One onion, diced; one red bell pepper, diced; one green bell pepper, diced; one jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped; 1 C sliced mushrooms (optional); one medium yellow squash (in place of mushrooms if desired), chopped; olive oil; two cloves garlic, chopped; 28 oz. diced tomatoes with juice; 1 tsp. salt + more to taste; 1 tsp. cumin; 1/2 tsp. paprika; 1/2 tsp. turmeric; pepper to taste; 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped; 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese; 1/2 C water; six eggs.

Cook onion and mushrooms (if using) in oil until onions become translucent and mushrooms turn golden brown. Add peppers and squash (if using). Cook about five minutes until peppers begin to soften. Add all spices and stir thoroughly. Cook another five minutes or so.  Add tomatoes and water and stir. Let simmer 25-30 minutes until water reduces, stirring occasionally.

Smooth the mixture with a spoon and make six indentations. Crack one egg into each indentation. Break yolks if desired. Cover and cook until eggs are almost at desired doneness. Sprinkle feta cheese and cilantro, remove from heat, keep covered until cheese melts and eggs are done to your liking.  Serve in bowls, one egg to a serving.

This recipe made six servings. They were probably a “portion” as that term is used by the food gurus, meaning it isn’t enough for the normal appetite. But with eggplant Parmesan, bread and salad, it made a great meal.

Here’s a link to Chef John’s video. It’s worth a watch to hear Chef John’s corny delivery and his save as he explains that it’s essential not to crack the eggs directly into the vegetable mixture. Instead, he says, crack it into a ramekin and then into the mixture. This will guarantee that the yolk doesn’t break. Just as he makes that pronouncement, the yolk of the second egg he adds from his ramekin breaks. But Chef John is a pro and doesn’t miss a beat.

I followed Chef John’s recipe for the most part. I omitted the mushrooms because we have some non-mushroom eaters in our family. I wanted something with the texture and bulk of the mushrooms to replace them so I added squash. I think it turned out well. I omitted the cayenne pepper of Chef John’s recipe, also in deference to the palates of our family. Finally, I added garlic because everything is better with garlic. This is a definite do-again recipe.


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