I got a beautiful new Lodge Cast Iron skillet for Christmas and knew right away what to make for its inauguration: Shakshuka (pg. 87)!
This, according to Chef, is “a North African dish with many variations.” Indeed, I have seen a number of super yummy looking recipes on Pinterest! But for my first time trying it, I, of course, had to go with the “Plenty” version…or half of the “Plenty” version (as the full recipe serves 8).
Chef’s version of the dish is simple: onion, pepper, tomato, egg, and spices. And, for a “Plenty” dish it should not take that long. I say should because I think my first attempt took longer than it was supposed to… Ordinarily, I think this dish would take about 30-40 minutes from start to finish.
I sauteed the onions, added the peppers, added the herbs, all was going well.
Then I added the tomatoes and the rest of the spices. An aside here: I did not add the saffron, as a small (very small) glass vial of saffron threads in Alaska was $25!!!! So, no saffron. I reduced the heat and let it simmer.
After 15 minutes, it was then supposed to have the consistency of pasta sauce. Mine did not. Despite me adding not even half of the amount of water Chef called for. My mixture was really soupy still. So I let it simmer some more…I turned up the heat a bit…I tried and tried, but could not get it to thicken. Maybe my tomatoes were really watery? I don’t know. But after an extra 10-15 minutes, we gave up (we were hungry!) and proceeded with the rest of the recipe.
The next part is why the mix should be thick: you are supposed to make “holes” in the sauce to break the eggs into. However, because my sauce was not very thick, the holes I made kept getting filled before I could get the eggs in! Ack! But it turned out OK in the end. The eggs went in and then were left to cook a little while longer until they set.
Once they did, we enjoyed eating the result. We had toast with it to sop-up the liquid, which was definitely needed with my version, but it still tasted great! We gave it 4 stars and look forward to making it again, possibly adding some twists, like feta. As Chef said, this is an “ideal brunch fare.” We could not agree more! (Chef’s L, pg. 88-89; Mine R).