Shakshuka

If I could only have one final breakfast, I’d want that breakfast to be this shakshuka with some pita or crusty sourdough bread. Hands down, no question. I mean what could be better than a tomato and spinach stew with runny eggs and cheese on top? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Shakshuka is a spicy tomato and egg dish that has it’s origins in North Africa, and today is a very popular Israeli / Mediterranean breakfast. You’re meant to dig into it with lots of pita or challah bread (I like to eat it with sourdough). If the idea of a tomato stew for breakfast doesn’t really spark you’re fire, no worries, that’s completely understandable. Shakshuka can easily transition into the lunch/dinner category without even batting an eye.

This isn’t what you would call a traditional shakshuka. I’ve taken inspiration from different recipes and have made my own shakshuka masterpiece. It combines tomatoes, chili, spinach, mushrooms, eggs and LOTS of different cheeses into one beautiful concoction.

While I love my creation, if you’re looking for something without spinach (this is for all you spinach haters out there – no judgement), check out the NYTimes’ Shakshuka with Feta recipe; you’ll love it.

On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, if you love, love, LOVE spinach, can’t get enough of the guy, I’d recommend Leah Koenig’s Spinach Shakshuka recipe from her book, Modern Jewish Cooking. It’s another banging version of shakshuka minus the tomatoes.

Tomato, Spinach and Mushroom Shakshuka

Servings: About 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced into chunks (I used white, but use whatever kind you like)
  • 1 hot pepper, minced (whatever kind you like best: a chili, Serrano pepper, literally anything will work)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-7 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and with excess water wrung out (I used half a bag of frozen spinach)
  • 1.5 or 2 (14 oz.) can(s) of diced tomatoes (depends on how thick or thin you want it to be) OR about 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Chili powder or red pepper flakes to taste (depending on how hot the pepper you add in is)
  • Crumbled feta, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • 4-6 eggs
  • Chopped cilantro, for sprinkling on top
  • Pita, challah or sourdough bread, on the side for serving

Directions:

Step 1:  If you have a cast iron skilled, preheat the oven to 375°F. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, no worries, just use a large skillet with a lid, but you won’t be using the oven. Over medium heat, heat up 3 TBS olive oil in the skillet. Add the diced onion and pepper to the skillet, season a little with salt and pepper and cook for 12-15 minutes, until softened. Stir occasionally.

Step 2: While the onion and pepper are cooking, in a separate skillet over medium heat, heat up 1 TBS of olive oil. Then add in the mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have worked through their wet stage and are finally starting to dry out again. Stir occasionally. After 5 minutes, add in the spinach and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 3: Once both the onion and pepper mixture and the mushrooms/spinach are cooked, transfer the mushrooms and spinach into the skillet with the onion and pepper. Add in the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and paprika, stir and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 4: Pour in the tomatoes and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Bring this to a simmer and leave for 10 minutes to let it do it’s thing and thicken. Taste and add more salt and pepper and the chili powder or red pepper flakes if you feel like you need it. Stir in the mozzarella.

Step 5: Make 4 to 6 little divots in the tomato mixture for the eggs to have a place to sit and then crack the eggs gently into those divots. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. If you’re using a cask iron skillet or an oven-proof skillet, place the skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 6 to 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it, the eggs tend to not be cooked one minute and then overcooked the next. If you you’re using a skillet with a lid, instead of using the oven, place a lid on top of the skillet and cook over medium heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still a bit runny. About 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan​ from the heat or oven. Sprinkle with the feta, Parmesan and cilantro. Serve hot with lots and lots of bread! Oh, and maybe some Cajun seasoning and hot sauce too!

Happy cooking!:)

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