November 2, 2014

Kitchen Goddess: Good Friends, Good Food, and Shakshuka

Hello November! Thanksgiving will be here faster than we can imagine. Through the month, I'll bring you more cooking posts than ever before so you, my lovely readers, can have the best Thanksgiving meal possible.
There's always been something about sharing good food with good friends. One thing I love about my lady is that whoever we meet, if we get along, our first instinct is to invite them over for dinner. Lauren made a friend through one of her classes, and we invited her over for some Shakshuka. I also invited over one of my best friends to share! Now this dish probably looks familiar from those fancy cooking shows, but I promise, it's not as complicated as it appears. Shakshuka is simply a baked egg dish that is incredibly versatile. It originated in North Africa, and like many traditional foods from that region, made it over to Israel where it makes for a spicy start to the day as a breakfast food.
The composition is simple, and you can add/subtract as many different items and flavors as there are under the sun. It begins with a tomato sauce base that comes together easily in a pan. You crack eggs into the sauce and simmer, then the whole thing is moved into the oven. Simple enough, right? Let's get started.


Shakshuka
Enough Olive Oil to grease a skillet
One Large Onion (I used two small onions. Same thing, right?)
One Yellow Bell Pepper - Sliced
About 3 Garlic Cloves
Smoked Paprika
Chipotle Chile Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Turmeric
1 28 oz can Chopped Tomatoes - With Juice
2 tbs Tomato Paste
One Package Feta Cheese
Salt 
Pepper
6-8 Large Eggs
Cilantro for garnish


1. Begin by saut√©ing the onions and the yellow bell pepper in the olive oil until they become browned and tender. Add a shake of paprika, chipotle chile pepper, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to the onions so that they really absorb the flavor and transfer it to the rest of the dish. 



2. Add the salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Combine and let simmer. Stir in the feta cheese and combine.


3. Crack eggs directly into the pan, atop the tomato base you have prepared. Let cook for a few minutes on the stove before popping the whole pan in the oven. 350 degrees for roughly 15-20 minutes for firm eggs.


4. Garnish with Cilantro, a touch of salt and a touch of pepper. Serve with a traditional loaf of toasted bread for dipping. Enjoy!





As a Thanksgiving dish, this would certainly be interesting. I wouldn't rule it out, especially if you want to add some spice to the traditional layout of the meal. I would certainly love the person who would break this out for their guests! Lauren whipped up a little salad of her own to accompany this meal. You can find the link here for the warm Spinach salad with Sweet Potato and Smoky Pecans! 


Until next time,
-Ali 

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