Smoky Shakshuka + Feta & Za'atar

It's finally spring break!!

Even if you're not on spring break or you don't have one, it's still Friday... which is plenty reason to celebrate.

After going non-stop for the past couple of months (literally... I don't think I've had a weekend at home since the new year), I am so looking forward to a chill week of doing absolutely nothing. We do have a little getaway planned for a few days later on in the week, but, knowing me, I'll probably be ready for another road trip by then.

One of my favorite ways to relax and avoid being bored at the same time is cooking. And whenever I get a few days with nothing planned, I always love to test a ton of recipes out. Especially since I've been crazy busy lately, I have piles of ideas desperate to be tested (and eaten).

As we all know, I'm a sweets over savory girl all the way, but when I am craving something savory, it usually is mediterranean. I could eat some sort of Greek or middle-eastern--especially Lebanese--food, literally, for every single meal. Besides a good batch of classic scrambled eggs, poached eggs have always been my favorite way to eat an egg. And what's a better way to poach an egg than in a rich, smoky tomato sauce??

Shakshuka is probably my favorite savory breakfast item.
Actually, I take that back. Nothing can beat my beloved bagel & lox.
But shakshuka is still a very close second...

This version--packed with smoky spices, tangy tomatoes and vinegar, and briny cheeses--is crazy delicious by itself, but if you're looking something a little more substantial, try it with some crusty bread, warm pita or naan, or even topped over my sweet potato biscuits.

Not only is this a perfect savory breakfast option, it's also a great dinner. I recently made it for my family for dinner and it definitely hit the spot.
And, best of all, it doesn't take that much TLC to whip up...

You start by cooking down some peppers and onions; then add in your tomato products, liquids, and spices and let that simmer down for a few minutes. Next all you have to do is add your eggs in and let them poach half-way before transferring them to under a broiler to ensure the egg whites are cooked.
To finish, top it off with fresh parsley, feta, grated parmesan, and a few pinches of Za'atar (my all-time favorite seasoning made with sumac). 
The toppings are optional, but 100% recommended.

So if you're looking for a last minute dinner or a satisfying brunch for tomorrow morning, I gotchya with this recipe.

Smoky Shakshuka 
3-4 servings (6-8 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 large garlic cloves- minced
  • 1/2 white onion- finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper- finely diced
  • 1/2 tbs. each salt & black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock (plus more if necessary)
  • 6-8 eggs (depending how saucy you like it; I like lots of sauce so I made it with 6 eggs, but there is enough sauce to make it with 8
  • Optional (but highly encouraged) Toppings: Za'atar, feta, parmesan, olive oil, fresh parsley, pita/naan to eat with it

Over medium heat, cook the onions, garlic, and bell pepper until softened and majority of the oil has been absorbed. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the vinegar and all of the spices. Cook down until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add both of the tomato products and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Turn to a simmer and cook until the tomato sauce has thickened (about 20-25 minutes). Stir in the rest of the chicken stock (add more if the mixture is still too thick- it should be the consistency of a traditional tomato sauce) and crack in the eggs with decent space between them all. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes and then move under a low broil for another 3-5 minutes, until the tops of the eggs have turned pale yellow and the whites around the yolk have solidified. It's okay if the egg whites aren't completely cooked because they will continue to cook after you take it from the oven. The yolks should still be jiggly.
Take out and let cool for 5 minutes. Top with feta or parmesan (or both), Za'atar, and fresh parsley.
Serve with pita/bread of choice.

Cecilia A.


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