(North African eggs poached in a pepper ragout)
This dish, with many variations, is a popular breakfast in North Africa, especially in Algeria and Tunisia. Most recipes include the eggs, but they can actually be left out if you like. Jewish immigrants from the Maghreb have made this a popular breakfast dish in Israel.
Also spelled chakchouk, shakshouka, shakshuka.
4 to 6 servings
- Olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Paprika -- 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Onion, thinly sliced -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced -- 3
- Green and red bell peppers, diced -- 2 to 3
- Water -- 1 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Eggs (optional) -- 4
- Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Stir in the paprika and cook slighly to color the oil, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent and wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce down a little bit. Add the peppers, water and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep it from drying out.
- Using a spoon, form four small indentations in the simmering peppers to hold the eggs. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and slip each from the bowl into an indentation. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until eggs are cooked through.
- Serve with crusty bread, pita or rice.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seed to the hot oil for about 15 seconds before you add the paprika. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground coriander along with the onions.
- For a little spice, saute 1 tablespoon of harissa paste or a minced chile pepper with the onions.
- Sometimes fresh shrimp or a spicy lamb sausage called merguez is added to the simmering peppers along with the eggs.
- Add 1 small, diced eggplant along with the peppers.
- Add 1 potato, cut in a small dice, along with the peppers.
- Sprinkle the top of the cooked dish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
- Add a few olives and capers and eliminate the eggs. Chill and serve garnished with hard-boiled eggs or tuna.