I’ve just wrapped up our 8th annual ladies weekend, a time for some of my former roommates and I to sneak away from the world, reconnect, reminisce, drink wine, sleep in, and indulge. With a new baby in the group and one friend who moved down to Virginia, we chose to stay at home in Boston rather than make the usual trip up to Vermont. So, everyone stayed here at our new home! It was such an immense pleasure to be able to host friends here under our roof. At one point in the weekend, we tallied that there have been 17 people stay in our guest room since we bought the house in September! One of our hopes was to have a place where our friends and family can gather and it is coming to life through rejuvenating visits like these.
On Sunday morning some of us were moving more slowly than usual. The Mediterranean cafe down the street was calling our name, but there would inevitably be lines and nowhere for all 5 of us (plus baby) to sit and lounge. So instead, we decided to make our own shakshuka. Bloody marys were poured and we began to look up recipes. Melissa Clark has this mouth watering recipe and video, Ottolenghi has several published variations, and Serious Eats doesn’t disappoint with facts and tips. Rather than follow one we just dove in and created our own experimental version. After about 45 minutes of adding a bit of this, and a dash of that, we ended up with this rustic tomato and garlicky sauce topped with baked eggs.
I initially had no intentions of posting this recipe and therefore took no notes at all during the cooking process. But, my goal with this blog is to keep an organized file of recipes I want to remember, and this is one I need to come back to. So, here are the highlights of this dish. While I have nowhere near an exact recipe, this ‘taste and adjust’ experiment was perfect for this casual weekend. Sometime in the future I will come back to this recipe and adjust the post with what I learn, but for now, here is our version of shakshuka.
- 1 potato – diced
- 1 medium yellow onion- diced
- 1/2 red onion – diced
- 5-6 small sweet red peppers – sliced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
- 28oz can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- About 3 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes – quartered
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Thai chili garlic sauce
- About 3 cups of chopped fresh spinach
- 7 eggs
Steps and Notes:
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Dice the potato and onion to similar sizes.
- Note: We chose to cut the potatoes smaller than typical home fries as we wanted the sauce to be easily picked up on a spoon
- In an oven safe pan (we used a dutch oven) saute the potatoes in olive oil. Stir regularly to prevent sticking. After about 6-7 minutes add the onions, add salt and pepper, and cook on low heat until soft (about 10 more minutes)
- Sprinkle a generous layer of cumin, oregano, and thyme over the onions and potatoes.
- Add the garlic and peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
- Note: I often worry about burning the garlic, so sometimes I’ll open the can of tomatoes a bit early and pour in a splash. I don’t know if this really does anything, but in my head it allows the veggies to still saute without browning or overly sticking to the pan.
- Pour the can of tomatoes into the pot and rinse the can and add the water to the sauce as well (about 1/4 can). Add the fresh tomatoes as well.
- Add the following spices and continue to regularly taste the sauce until you reach your desired flavor (in order of how much we used of each): cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, sugar, and thyme.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 Teaspoon of thai chili garlic sauce and continue to cook on low until the sauce thickens enough to make a well with a spoon.
- Add the spinach and combine with the sauce. Then, sprinkle a layer of feta over the sauce. Finally, gently press a small well into the sauce with a spoon. Crack an egg into the well and repeat until the dish has a layer of eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Note: we used 7 eggs
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Serve warm with crispy bread!
Thoughts for next time:
- Re make this dish and update this post with more accurate notes.
- Add in some harissa for flavor
- Cook them in some sort of individual serving sized dish
- Serve with warm cornbread