Mention the word “breakfast” or “brunch”, and most people in Britain would think of a hearty Full-English. Those with an appreciation for American-style self-harm will drool over a stack of fluffy pancakes or thick brioche french toast, whilst those who value their life expectancy would probably dream of smashed avocado and toast. These are of course, the familiar options, and many people will rotate through them – week in and week out. But, when the harsh chill of winter strikes, it’s not unreasonable to crave something that’s a little more warming for the insides.
Hailing from the coastal homes of North Africa, Shakshuka – (or “Shakshouka”), is a versatile breakfast dish that is served all year round. In winter however, its presence is especially appreciated, and it’s also an incredibly quick and easy dish to make. Below, we’ve written up a simple and rewarding recipe that will hopefully be enough to tempt you away from that all too cosy duvet.
Preparation time: 5-10 mins
Cooking time: 25-30 mins.
Serves: 2 people (Scale up for larger numbers)
- 3-4 large eggs
- 1/2 a bell pepper
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
- 400g of whole or chopped tomatoes
- Fresh or dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley or coriander
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large or medium-sized skillet, on a low to medium heat.
- Finely dice the onion, bell pepper, and cloves of garlic.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and stir occasionally until they soften and turn brown – (do not let them burn or fry to a crisp!).
- Add the bell pepper, cumin, cayenne, and paprika, and stir thoroughly. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
- If using whole tomatoes, blend them until smooth. If using a can of chopped tomatoes, pour the mixture into the pan, add a pinch of salt, and cover the pan with a lid. Let the mixture simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until it thickens. (Do not let the mixture boil or you will lose precious volume).
- Once thickened, add salt and pepper to taste and stir the mixture thoroughly – you will be unable to do this after you add the eggs.
- Once you’re happy with the seasoning, spread the mixture evenly, and create three or four small craters for the eggs. Carefully crack each egg into each crater, and cover the skillet, allowing the eggs to cook for a few more minutes. Keep a close eye at this stage, as you want the yolk to remain fairly runny.
- Once the egg whites have set, remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle your Shakshuka with basil, and either parsley or coriander.
Serving Suggestions / Variations:
- Dip into your Shakshuka with a piece of crusty sourdough bread, and enjoy it with a cup of single-origin African coffee.
- For a slightly meatier affair, cook up a spicy mergeuz sausage, slice it up, and add it to the mixture after Step 6.
- For a slightly greener affair, cut up some spinach and throw it in with the tomato sauce in Step 5.
- You can also top your Shakshuka with some crumbled chunks of feta cheese, or add them in before Step 6 (to avoid making the Shakshuka too salty).
And there we have it. A quick and easy alternative breakfast that will warm up your frostbite-ridden insides. Be sure to give it a go, and bring a spot of the Mediterranean sunshine into your home this winter.