Monday, April 11, 2011

Recipe : Shakshuka {or Shakshouka} a fragrant vegetable dish

Ottolenghi Shakshouka

Shakshuka {or Shakshouka} is an amazingly fragrant dish from North Africa. I first discovered it in the Yotam Ottolenghi's column in The Guardian and just love making this for a quick week night dinner ...
Some recipes add preserved lemon, others feta, and the herbs and spices may vary. Whatever you do, makes the perfect side dish with any red meat, a vegetarian main with an egg braised in the middle - and it's also perfect for a lazy weekend brunch ...
½ tsp cumin seeds
olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
6 ripe summer tomatoes, roughly chopped {or canned peeled tomatoes in off season)
½ tsp saffron strands
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes.

Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.

Add the peppers, bayleaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of cilantro, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome.
Serve hot with roasted meat - or cold on a hot summer day ...

For brunch, just add some eggs:
place four saucepans on medium hear and divide the mixture between them. 
Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. 
Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. 
Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.

(adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's column in The Guardian ...)

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