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It’s one of my favourite dishes – a simple, go-to meal that works great as a breakfast, lunch or even dinner… In Israel, shakshuka is synonymous with breakfast where it is eaten with a few slices of challah bread to mop up the delicious, fiery sauce. It is a one skillet recipe of eggs baked in a tomato and red pepper sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne. It can be finished either on the stove-top or in the oven. Shakshuka originated in North Africa and like many great dishes there are as many versions as there are cooks who have embraced it. I ate it the first time at Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant in London and fell in love with it. By now, those that follow me regularly know that I LOVE spicy food with a capital L so it is no surprise that it has become a favourite brunch dish of mine. Because everyone likes their eggs cooked differently, keep an eye on your shakshuka as it is cooking and use the times indicated merely as a guideline. It is best to serve the eggs still runny so that the yolks mingle with the spicy sauce.

Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 to 1 chili pepper, deseeded and finely minced (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
two 14 oz / two 400 g cans of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup / 20 g loosely packed greens such as spinach, kale, watercress, coarsely chopped
6 to 8 eggs

Preparation:

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat
Add the onions and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent but no color
Add the chili pepper, salt, pepper and all the spices
Cook for a minute, stirring
Reduce the heat to medium
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and vinegar
Cook for about 12 minutes (sauce should be thick but still slightly liquid)
Stir in the chopped greens
To finish on the stove-top:
Remove skillet from heat and make 6 to 8 indentations with the back of your spoon
Crack an egg into each indentation
Replace skillet on the heat at a low simmer
Cook for about 8 minutes then cover and cook another 3 minutes or until the eggs are to your liking
To finish in the oven:
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 360 F
Ensure you are using an oven proof skillet
Make the indentations as above and crack the eggs into each
Bake, uncovered, until the eggs are to your liking, about 10 to 15 minutes
Serve with lots of bread, challah, pita or a crusty loaf
Enjoy!

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