(I know, you're all busy trying to eat those Thanksgiving leftovers, but while we're on vacation I wanted to leave you with a brunch idea, maybe something to make for your family on a quiet holiday morning.)
Shakshouka is probably the most famous North African dish, made popular by North African Jews who took the dish on their diaspora to Israel and elsewhere. But shakshouka is still made across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, with many regional variations. In Algeria, the pepper-tomato mixture alone is sometimes referred to as shakshouka, though it is more likely to be called felfel. Basically, you make felfel, you crack some eggs straight into the mixture and let them poach, and voila. No matter the variation, the poached egg is the signature component of shakshouka.
It has taken me a long time, but I have to say I am more and more into the Middle Eastern thing of eating salty/briney/spicy foods for breakfast. Pickles, feta cheese, olives, poached eggs in spicy yogurt sauce (cilbir), I enjoy all of them. There's something really great about a runny egg yolk and a spicy warm tomato mixture, with some good bread to soak up the sauce.
Shakshouka (Poached Eggs in a Spicy Tomato-Pepper Sauce)
I usually roast and peel the peppers when I buy them, then keep them in the fridge to toss into dishes whenever I need them. If you don't have harissa then Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes will work. Serve with Algerian kesra bread.
2 gloves garlic, minced
3 large or 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
4 long green peppers, roasted per below
1/4 teaspoon harissa, or to taste
chopped cilantro and parsley for serving
To make shakshouka:
1. Heat some olive oil in a wide pan. Add the garlic and let saute until aromatic, do not let the garlic brown. Add in the tomatoes and season with salt. Let the tomatoes simmer until thick and saucy, about 15 minutes. Add in the chopped roasted peppers, the harissa, and simmer another 5-10 minutes to combine.
2. Crack each egg directly into the pan, spacing them evenly. If you are using a very shallow pan the eggs may poach quickly on their own, however if your pan is a bit deeper I find the eggs poach more quickly and evenly if you cover the pan with a lid. Poach until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with cilantro/parsley.
3. Serve by scooping the eggs and tomato-pepper mixture into bowls. Serve with good bread. Some yogurt on the side is also nice.
To roast peppers:
1. Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven temperature to 500 F. Rub a baking sheet with olive oil. Halve the peppers and set the cut side down on the baking sheet, rubbing their tops with a bit of olive oil. Broil until the pepper's skin is blackened and bubbly in spots - this could take anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on your oven, so just keep an eye on them and be sure not to burn them.
2. Immediately place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap - this allows the peppers to steam and their skins to loosen. When the peppers are cool carefully peel off the blackened skin. You don't have to be perfect about it. Slice the peppers lengthwise and cut them crosswise into rectangular pieces. Set aside.