Saturday, 3 January 2015


Some of my adventures in the kitchen come from wanted to making something delicious with a particular ingredient that I have lying in the kitchen. I take this one ingredient, research dishes which use them and then try and put my little twist on them. This recipe for Shakshouka came from wanting to use up some cooking chorizo that I had left over and I'm glad I found out about it as it was defiantly a super special spicy tomato treat. Its fabulously easy to make too and great for dishing up for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

Shakshouka is a traditional Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a chili tomato sauce. Think Mexican huevos rancheros and your in the right area. Obviously the main ingredient are tomatoes. I use beef tomatoes as I just think they are full to the brim with tomato goodness. Your tomatoes also need to be peeled and the size of beef tomatoes just makes them a whole lot less fiddly to peel than smaller tomatoes. However if you cant get hold of beef tomatoes then feel free to use whatever tomatoes you can get hold of, as long as the combined weight of them all is 750g you'll be absolutely fine.

Peeling a tomato is a rather simple affair once you know how. Simply make a small incision into each tomato, place them all your into a large bowl and cover them with boiling water for one minutes. Drain the tomatoes and then quickly dunk them into a bowl of cold water and leave for another minute. You should be able to pick up each tomato and simply pull the skins away starting at the incision you made in each one. You can then discard the skins and then cut into chunks as required.

Next we will move onto the chili. I love anything that's spicy hot so I throw in all my diced chili's, seeds and all. If you only like a smidge of spice then you can either remove all the seeds or just use 1 chili if you wish. You know what you like more than what I do so adjust the recipe as you see fit.

Veggies out there, feel free to exclude the chorizo from the dish however I would add in a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika to make up for the loss of that flavor that oozes out form the chorizo as it's frying. The same goes for the liquid smoke. I've talked about it's amazing smoky BBQ flavor in the past and will once again tell you to please buy a couple of bottles online as it really does boost the flavors of dishes like this however if you don't have any to hand then replace it again with a tsp or two smoked paprika. If you do use paprika instead make sure you taste as you go so you do not overwhelm the whole dish with it.

Piquillo peppers are little mouthfuls of sweet crunchy goodness and great for adding into dishes like this for added flavor. They are readily available in most supermarkets so keep yourself a jar in the fridge ready to chunk into dishes or if you prefer you can chop up a jarred roasted whole red pepper instead however you wont get that little bit of crunch from them that you do with piquillos. Use whichever you can get hold of or prefer.

Lets talk about the eggs. The egg acts as the protein to this dish which makes it great for vegetarians. For vegans however, maybe not so much but you can skip the eggs and just make the beautiful chili tomato sauce and scoop it over some rice or pasta instead if you wish. If you are going to use the eggs then poached them to your liking. Around 5 minutes if you like a nice runny egg, up to ten for a more well done yolk. Just keep an eye on those bad boys once you crack them into the pan.

Speaking of the pan, I have used a paella pan to make this dish as I found it to be spot on, just the right width and depth for this dish. You want a nice something like a large frying pan around 1 inch in depth. This will make the sauce the right thickness so that the egg poach just right.

Right enough talk, lets crack on with the recipe.This recipe below will make a meal for two or can be used as a side dish for four:


2 Finely Chopped Red Onions
2 Diced Whole Chilis
200g Diced Chorizo
 Handfull Halved Jarred Piquillo Peppers
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (Optional)
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 Tsp Caster Sugar
750g Peeled Beef Tomatoes Cut Into Chunks
Handfull Chopped Fresh Corriander
Salt And Pepper To Season
4 Whole Eggs
Approx. 2 Tsp Dried Basil

  1. Place the onions and chili's into your oiled pan of choice and fry on a medium heat until the onions begin to soften before adding in the chorizo and frying further until the red spices of the sausage begin to color the onions.
  2. Add in the peppers, liquid smoke, sugar and tomato chunks and keep stirring, breaking up the tomatoes as you go until a tomato sauce is formed. This may take around 10 minutes. 
  3. Throw on top the coriander and season with the salt and pepper before bringing the pan to a boil. Cover and reduce toa simmer for around 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and become thick. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
  4. Make four small craters in the center of the pan (if the craters fall in on themselves the sauce is not thick enough so keep simmering) and crack an egg into each one and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of bail into each yolk,
  5. Recover the pan and keep simmering until the eggs are cooked to your liking (see above for a guide)
You can serve straight form the pan, the same way you would with a paella and just get people to dig in. It's a great sharing dish to serve at a dinner party. Make sure you have plenty of bread to mop up all that gorgeous sauce too, you'll be fighting over every last drop I promise you.

If your looking for something new to try for dinner then not only is this Shakshouka super, special and spicy but also super easy to make. Don't be scared to go on a kitchen adventure. If you don't you'll never enjoy food as good as this!

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