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Shakshuka – Eggs poached in a spiced tomato and charred bell pepper stew

This Maghrebi favourite is the perfect combination of simple to prepare but wonderfully complex when prepared well. Delicious by itself, even better with plenty of crusty bread, some extra hot sauce and some thick yoghurt.

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 2-3 people

INGREDIENTS 4 eggs 1 can of tomatoes  2 coloured bell peppers 1 tablespoon ras el hanout 1 large onion 1 stalk of green garlic 1 stalk of spring onion Olive oil and salt to taste 2 sprigs of fresh mint EQUIPMENT Chopping board and knife Baking tray lined with foil Medium sized pan with fitting lid Medium sized bowl Rubber spatula or wooden spoon METHOD 1. Begin by preheating your oven to 250C. Lightly rub the outside of the bell peppers with olive oil and place onto a tray lined with foil and onto the top shelf of your oven. Allow to cook for 20 minutes or until the skins of the peppers are nicely blackened.  Place the peppers into a mixing bowl and cover with the foil they were baking on to allow the peppers to steam. 

2. While this is cooking you can prepare the rest of the sauce for the shakshuka. Begin by peeling and slicing the onions, chopping the spring onions and green garlic into roughly 1cm pieces, removing the roots and any wilted stalks.  3. Place a medium sized frying pan over medium heat and add a generous lug of olive oil. Once the oil has heated up, add the sliced onions, spring onion and garlic to the pan and cook while stirring until they have softened, and the onions are translucent and sweet.   4. Add the ras el hanout to the pan and coat the vegetables in the spice mix. Allow the spices to toast for a minute or two while stirring to prevent them from burning.  5. Open the can of tomatoes and add it to the pan, breaking up any chunks. Rinse out the inside of the can with water to extract all the tomato and add it to the pan. Cook the stew over medium/low heat until the stew has thickened to the point where if you drag a spatula through it, liquid doesn’t pool back into the pan.  6. Whilst the stew is simmering, remove the peppers from the bowl and pull out the stems and seeds, allowing any liquid to drip into the mixing bowl. Place the pepper onto a chopping board and gently remove the charred skins using a small knife or a piece of paper kitchen towel. Once all the skins and seeds have been removed, chop the peppers into 1cm wide strips and add them to the pan of tomato sauce.

7. Cook the mixture together for 5 minutes or until the consistency of the sauce is nice and thick. Turn the heat off and using a spoon, create openings of roughly an inch wide where an egg should fit comfortably. Do this 4 times for each of the eggs. Crack the eggs into the openings and season well with salt. Place a lid onto the pan and place over low heat on the stove or into an oven set to 180C. Allow to cook for 5 minutes or until the egg whites have set but the yolk is still runny. Serve with Greek yoghurt and plenty of crusty bread. 


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