Tunisian Shakshouka

IMAGE: Aube Giroux

Shakshouka or Shakshuka is a North African dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It originated in Tunisia, and it is now a staple in Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. It is traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce.

This Shakshouka recipe is by Aube Giroux.

INGREDIENTS:

• 3 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
• About 8 tomatoes, preferably roma paste tomatoes but any will do (or about 2 x 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes)
• 2 tsp ground coriander
• 1/2 tsp ground caraway
• 2 tsp paprika (can be smoked paprika for added flavor)
• 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, or add more if you like it spicy)
• 1/2 tsp salt (more, to taste)
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 4 large pasture-raised eggs
• 2 to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

METHOD:

1. Place a large skillet on medium heat and sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the chopped garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add all the spices, stir, and cook for another minute.

2. Chop the tomatoes (preferably removing the seeds) and add them into the skillet, cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce has started to thicken. If the sauce if too thick, add about 1/4 cup of water, stir, and cook for another couple minutes. You don’t want your sauce to be too thick, so that the eggs will poach well. On the other hand, you don’t want it to be too liquidey or the flavors will be diluted. Taste the sauce and add more salt, if needed.

3. Once your sauce is just right, carefully crack the 4 eggs on top of the sauce, leaving a space between each one. (If there’s room, you might be able to fit an additional 2 or 3 eggs into the sauce). Put a lid on the skillet, and allow the eggs to cook for about 5 minutes, checking them often so that the yolk reaches the state that you prefer. (In Tunisia, the yolk is usually soft, but if you prefer a cooked yolk, simply cook it a bit longer).

4. Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top of the eggs. Serve hot, with a good slice of bread to soak up all the delicious tomato sauce.

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