I brought this classic baked eggs and tomato sauce dish to another level. My shakshuka is kicked up a few notches with harissa paste and crumbled, tangy feta cheese.
If you’re not familiar with shakshuka, first off, you should be and secondly, it’s a traditional North African/Middle Eastern baked eggs dish in a spicy tomato sauce. The foundation of the sauce consists of onions, bell peppers and a mixture of spices (cumin, coriander, paprika). I threw in some harissa paste for a little kick and a combo of both sweet and smoked paprika. My version of shakshuka is a bit more mildly spiced than what you might find in Africa, so feel free to bump up the spice level to your liking. A fresh hot pepper would also be great in this dish.
While recipe testing, I found that if you cook the eggs on the stove top (even with the lid on the pan), it’s difficult to cook them evenly. My center egg ended up nearly hard-cooked while my outer eggs had much runnier yolks. There’s of course a time lag between the first and last egg you put into the pan, but I found the heat distribution to be the biggest playing factor. To avoid unevenly cooked yolks, I suggest baking the eggs in the oven. It also creates the perfect opportunity to throw your loaf of bread in there too and crisp it up at the same time.
Once your beautiful little eggs are cooked, top this shakshuka with loads of cilantro (or parsley if you’re one of those people who can’t eat cilantro) and crumble over some good feta cheese. Now you’re in business. Grab that bread and dip away.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 shallots or 1 large red onion, chopped into ½ inch pieces (I used 3 mini red onions)
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp harissa paste, or to taste
- 28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes
- Pinch sugar (optional)
- 5-6 eggs
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Feta cheese, for sprinkling
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Warm crusty bread, for serving
- Cook onions and pepper: Warm a large nonstick pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil followed by onions and peppers. Season with salt. Cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables or soft and very sweet. Reduce heat to medium-low or low, when needed, to avoid browning.
- Finish cooking sauce: Add garlic and spices to the pan. Toast for 30-60 seconds, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown. Stir in harissa. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Break up tomatoes with spoon. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes or until sauce is thickened and flavorful. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Add sugar to round out flavors, if desired. While sauce cooks, preheat oven to 375°F if baking eggs in oven.
- Cook eggs & serve: You can either cook eggs completely over the stove top to keep things simpler, or for more even cooking, I suggest baking the eggs in the oven. Make wells in sauce with the back of a large spoon. Crack eggs separately into a bowl and carefully pour into wells. You should be able to fit 5-6 eggs over the sauce. Season with salt. If baking, place on center rack of preheated oven uncovered, and cook for 7-10 minutes or until whites are just set. If finishing on stove top, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 8-12 minutes or until whites are just set. Garnish shakshuka with cilantro and crumbled feta. Serve out of pan. Enjoy.