What is Shakshuka?
Shakshuka, or sometimes spelled Shakshouka, is a Middle Eastern and North African breakfast of poached eggs and a tomato mixture with peppers and spices. It’s rich and abundant in flavor and hearty so that it will keep you full all morning. I first became interested in Shakshuka when a photograph on the dish stopped me in my scroll. The vibrant reds from the tomatoes and the creaminess to the sauce, the photo was too beautiful not to make.
I absolutely love traditional Shakshuka, but I wanted to create a Spanish-inspired version with additional spices and spicy chorizo then topped with a Mexican cheese. This Spanish Shakshuka is the breakfast you need to make if you want a warm, slightly spicy, totally filling breakfast in a good way, you won’t feel over-full or yucky after eating this! Topped with either cotija cheese or queso fresco, the cooling effect the cheese adds really compliments the spice from the sauce and chorizo.
As noted above, traditionally Shakshuka is made by poaching the eggs in the tomato sauce. I make mine by cooking the eggs to over-medium in a separate pan then topping the sauce with the cooked eggs. I do this because:
1. I don’t like poached eggs.
2. I’ve tried poaching the eggs in the sauce several times before and was never able to get it quite right.
So with that, I give you this recipe. You’ll want to make these every weekend it’s that good, and it makes savory leftovers too! I usually have a few servings of leftovers that I’ll reheat the next morning with a fresh cooked egg and some more crumbled cheese. Great way to start the day!
-1 small white onion, sliced thin
-1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
-1/2 green pepper, sliced thin
-3 cloves garlic
-5 chorizo sausage links, removed from casing
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 (28oz) can whole plum tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso, you’ll use the tomatoes and the sauce and I found the sauce had a good thickness), roughly chopped
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon paprika
-2 teaspoons cumin
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-2 teaspoons cornstarch
-crumbled cotija cheese or Queso Fresco
1. Mix together the cumin, paprika, garlic powder and oregano. In a large sauce pan over medium/ medium-high heat, cook the chorizo. I like to cook on one side for a few minutes, then flip and cook the other side a few minutes more. Then, using your spatula break up the links into small pieces, continue to cook until no longer pink inside. Once cooked, spoon into a paper towel lined bowl to absorb excess grease. The clean out the pan to remove grease.
2. In the same pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and peppers. Spread them out into an even layer and let them cook, untouched about 5-6 minutes. Stir and repeat until all the onions and peppers are nicely dark and charred a bit. With a zester, zest in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the spice mixture and stir to coat the veggies. (Keep an eye on your heat, adjust down or up as needed). Now add the diced tomatoes and the sauce from the can, the salt, and the cornstarch. Increase heat until the mixture is bubbling, then reduce heat to low to simmer, add in the chorizo. Simmer for 10 minutes and taste, season with additional salt if needed.
2. While the sauce is simmering, in another pan cook your eggs to your liking. Most Shakshuka is served with poached eggs, but I prefer mine about over-medium. It’s up to you, although scrambled wouldn’t work here.
3. To serve, plate a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture, top with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, and lastly the eggs. Eat with sturdy crusty bread, fresh biscuits, or naan.