The Freelancer’s Cookbook: Shakshuka by Rich Douek

Breakfast is really important. Even more than caffeine, I’ve found that having a good
breakfast will give you the energy to get through the day without feeling run-down.
But, if you’re trying to not overdo it on sugar, there are a lot less healthy choices
than you’d think.

Forget pancakes, muffins, bagels, cereal (with or without little marshmallows).
Waffles, too. You’re basically left with eggs. But scrambled eggs every day can get
really boring – so I’m always looking for new things to mix in, and new ways to
make them.

One of my favorites though, is this recipe for eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce,
called Shakshuka. It’s a middle-eastern dish that my dad used to make it for us on
the weekends, and it was such a favorite of mine, that as an adult, I taught myself
how to make it on my own. It goes great with pita bread, or toast, and if you’re
vegetarian or vegan, you can just make the sauce and pair it with a tofu scramble.

SHAKSHUKA

Prep/cook time: 10-15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • ½ tsp Cardamom Powder
  • Parsley and/or Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 eggs per person
  • Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, heat up some olive oil, and start sautéing the onion, pepper
jalapeno and garlic. Add tomato paste, cumin, crushed red pepper, cardamom, salt
and pepper, and stir.

Once the onions and peppers start to soften, add the can of crushed tomatoes. You’re
looking for a sauce consistency, so if you need more liquid, add some water.

Once the sauce comes to a boil, cover it and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. You
can let it go longer if you want, but after 5 minutes it’s ready for the eggs.

Take your eggs and crack them directly into the pan. They’ll be sitting in the sauce,
which will act like a poaching liquid – don’t worry about them being raw, they will
cook all the way through by the time we are done. I usually do 3 eggs per person, but
you can do more or less depending on your appetite.

Once all your eggs are in, cover the pan with the lid and wait 3-4 minutes.
Check the eggs – they should be white all over instead of clear, then its just a
question of how well done you like your yolks. If you like them runny, turn the heat
off, if you like them firmer, let them go for another minute or two – it might take
some trial and error to get them exactly how you like them.

Once finished, sprinkle the parsley and/or cilantro on top, and serve it right in the
pan at the table.

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