Usually I write about what happens after I serve dinner, but in this post I’m going to focus on the actual process of making dinner. You’re going to get a peak into my kitchen while I prepare Shakshuka. I just love saying that….”Shak-Shu-Ka!” It kind of reminds me of the “Shikaka” scene from Ace Ventura 2:
I know it’s lame but I watched that movie a lot when I was a teenager and it has unfortunately been etched into my brain now. Sorry to subject you to that. Anyway…Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) is a Hebrew meal of eggs poached in a chunky tomato sauce with peppers and spices. I saw Smitten Kitchen’s version
on Pinterest and I was intrigued. I’ve adapted it to be much milder because my kids won’t eat anything spicy. You could call this Shakshuka for wimps. It still has great flavours, just not spicy in any way.
The first thing I do before I start dinner is pour myself a glass of wine (or other beverage depending on my mood) and turn on the tunes.
Here are some of my favourite albums on my ipod right now:
I love to sing while I cook, or any time for that matter. When I hear a good song I can’t help but sing along. My family members have learned to tune me out, but I’m sure our tenant is thinking “there goes the crazy landlady singing again, for the love of all that is holy, will she ever shut up?!”…And the answer is no. No I will not. Trust me, I’ve tried.
While I’m singing away and drinking my wine, I start chopping up the onions and green peppers. Then I crush up a few cloves of garlic. I put a little olive oil in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot, in go the vegetables.
I cook them until softened, about 5 minutes. The I add a can of whole stewed tomatoes.
Then I mash them up. I add a little water as well.
I pour a can of chickpeas into a strainer and rinse them off with water, then throw them into the pot.
I put in about a teaspoon of cumin, another of paprika, and a dash of salt and pepper. You could even add a bit of cayenne pepper here too if you want a bit of a kick to it.
Once I stir in the spices, I let it simmer and thicken. While it’s simmering, I turn on the oven to 350F and put pita bread on a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil.
I also cut up a handful of parsley.
I uncover the pot and make spaces in the sauce for the eggs to sit. I can fit 5 nicely in my skillet.
I crack the eggs into the holes,
and I sprinkle parsley and feta on top.
I cover the eggs and let them cook. At this point I also put the pita bread into the oven to warm it up. I have about 5 minutes while the eggs cook and pitas warm up, so I use this time to start the kids’ lunches for the next day. I don’t waste any time when I’m in the kitchen. I move pretty quickly from one task to the next and I like to keep that momentum going. Also it’s nice to have lunches finished early so I can relax after the kids go to bed.
Once the eggs have cooked through, I uncover them and turn off the heat, and I pull the pita bread out of the oven.
At last it’s time to serve the food. I dish out the kids’ plates first so they have time to cool off.
After that, Tony and I help ourselves, and we all dig in.
So there you have it- Shakshuka! Tony and I thought it was delicious. I expected Cole to like it more than he actually did. He usually likes chickpeas and is also a fan of eggs, but I guess the two of these things together just didn’t do it for him. He did eat some of it, but didn’t finish. Bennett was more interested in the bread than the actual meal. So it wasn’t a total hit with the kids, but I was happy to find a healthy meal that can be thrown together pretty quickly.
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 oz) can whole stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin (or more)
1 tsp paprika
dash of salt and pepper
5 large eggs
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup light feta cheese, crumbled
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and mash them well. Add water, chickpeas, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes. With the back of a large spoon, create spaces in the sauce for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the holes you’ve made in the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and feta. Cover until eggs are cooked through. Serve with warm pita bread.