Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shakshuka : The Versatile Middle Eastern Low Carb Egg Dish

Those of you who have been with me long enough remember the early days of the blog when I first introduced many of my loyal friends to some of my fast, delicious, and super simple comfort foods. My children were young. I ached to express my culinary creativity with my sweet family and dear cooking students. At that time, as it has often been through the years, every penny counted. I wasn't the chef buying truffle oil and expensive wine. I just wanted to feed my babies healthy good stuff.

 I still want all the whole food I can give them.

So, back when we embarked on the "whole foods on a budget campaign", I never in a bazillion years would have known that it would have led us to book deals, radio show hosting and my own TV show airing weekly in Las Vegas. If anything, I thought maybe I wouldn't absolutely lose my mind under a pile of dirty dishes and endless laundry while listening to "The Wheels on the Bus" on a loop.

As for the food, nothing has changed here at home except for the fact that my boys are now teenagers and eat like they have hollow legs. The job title has been added upon, I'm no longer just a full time stay at home mom, but also a full time Caregiver to my aged Mother in Law. When life turned I was given the challenge of being the full-time bread winner working in restaurants and bake shops as an executive chef, it was a struggle to find a balance.

God blessed us with a miracles this year and I am finally now able to be home again as a food writer, chef and recipe developer for a large grain company (and thankfully only having to travel a few times a month away from the home). It's funny how life changes. Both boys are now home-schooled. Little Man is almost done with college!  Granny is still here. Ace is still plugging away. Things are crazy every single day, but we love it!

However, we still want whole food. We still want to stay on budget. We still want it to be super delicious! Super. Freakin'. Drop-dead-happy-delicious. If anything, after all these years, I expect extra awesome flavor in as short a time as possible! 

So...that brings us to today's adventure.  One of the early day recipes we lovingly referred to as  2 Ingredient Ravioli Eggs...
We ate it often. My kids still love it and ask for it.

Fast forward eight years since I introduced it here on the blog.   I've seen a trend here in the Phoenix valley. Bistros and upscale neighborhood foodie establishments are starting to have a similar egg dish on their menu to the one I grew up adoring. We've seen them called "Eggs in Purgatory" but the original dish actually is North African in origin and is well known in the Middle East and Isreal. Earlier this week I saw it on one of my favorite food sites, Serious Eats and I knew I had to share my version of this more complex recipe.   It's a classic comfort dish, simple to make and quick.  Though this more "exotic" version has several more ingredients than my childhood favorite, it has found it's way into my heart with it's spice and additional vegetables. Change up the sauce with southwest seasonings and you've got an awesome fajita version of this dish. Add Bacon, caramelized onion, tarragon, and fennel instead of the cumin and you've got a delicious French version. Keep it simple with just tomato and egg...and you've got what my dad, The Pansy Man, would make for us at the end of a long work day or as a satisfying Saturday morning breakfast with thick wedges of homemade bread from fresh ground wheat.

The sky is the limit on how you can customize this one. However you change it up, it will always be one of my go-to classics. 

Shakshuka (Middle Eastern Poached Eggs)
YIELD:Serves  6-8

  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused Avocado oil
  • 1  ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large red pepper (bell pepper for milder heat, or a hotter variety, such as red horned pepper, depending on your heat preference), stems, seeds, and ribs removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh small hot chili (such as jalapeno), stems, seeds, and ribs removed, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp.  sweet Hungarian or smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 ½  teaspoons whole or ground cumin seed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup minced cilantro and parsley, blended
  • 10 eggs
  • Sliced Kalamata or black olives, feta cheese, or artichoke hearts, for serving (all optional)
Heat oil in a large, deep 12-inch skillet with lid. When shimmering, add onion, pepper, and chili and spread into an even layer. Cook as you would fajita vegetables, without moving until deeply brown and beginning to almost char, about 6 minutes. Stir and repeat. Continue until softened, about another 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about a minute. Add Spices and toast about 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes, stirring carefully. Lower temperate to low simmer. 

With a spoon, make a whole near the edge of the pan and carefully break an egg into the whole. Repeat until you’ve partially submerged all 10 eggs in the pan. 

Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes for runny centers and 8-10 for a more well done firm center, until egg is poached to your preference.

Sprinkle with the herb mixture and additional toppings if desired.  Serve hot with fresh toasted bread. 

We like the eggs a little harder in the center.
My Fitness Pal Nutritional Information : Serving size 2 eggs, 281 calories, 17 gr. Carb, 5 grams fiber (12 net grams carbohydrate), 15 g protein, Fat 17 g.

There you go. A simple and delicious way to have a quick satisfying dinner.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

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