Eggs are a great tasting and hugely versatile food. Unlike a lot of foods, buying good quality, free range and organic eggs are still very affordable, and are in fact not much more expensive than their caged alternatives. What’s more, eggs are a highly nutritious food, being a great source of complete proteins, vitamin D and omega 3 (note, free range eggs have higher nutritional values). So, they are a great food to utilise when looking for a healthy dinner on a budget. There are many easy recipes using eggs, be it a simple omelette, eggs benedict or florentine, or the old faithful, scrambled eggs on toast. However, there is a recipe that can be served up as a hearty brunch, or could be dished up at dinner, that has Middle Eastern origins, looks damn good on the plate, and tastes phenomenal for the palate. This dish is shakshuka.
Shakshuka is essentially poached eggs made in a spicy tomato based sauce that can be flavoured with a number of additional ingredients, depending on what takes your fancy. Serve it alongside salad with a pitta bread, or for a more wintry warmer, serve it alongside an assortment of veggies.
Easy Recipes Using Eggs: Shakshuka
To make shakshuka, you need the following ingredients per person:
2 free range eggs
200 grams chopped tomatoes (from a tin/carton)
1 dessertspoon tomato puree
Drizzle of olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more, if you can handle the heat!)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ medium sized onion, finely chopped
3-4 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
Small bunch of parsley leave/ roughly chopped (or a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Sprinkle of sea salt
Finely chop the onion and roughly chop the mushrooms.
Over a medium-heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to a frying pan. If cooking for one, use a pan approximately 8 inches in diameter (20cm); if cooking for two, a larger pan of around 12 inches diameter (30cm) should be used. Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree to the pan, and stir. Add the crushed garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin to the pan. Stir thoroughly and leave to simmer on a low heat for 4-5 minutes.
Next, you need to add the eggs to the mixture. With a wooden spoon, make a hollow in the mixture and then crack the egg into it.
Repeat this with all of the eggs, then cover the pan and simmer on a low heat until the eggs have become white. Depending on how you like your eggs, you will need to adjust the cooking time here. With this dish, I prefer my eggs hard, and so I tend to cook them for around 10 minutes.
Once the eggs are cooked to your preference, sprinkle the eggs with a little sea salt, and sprinkle the parsley evenly across the pan.
Serve alongside a mixed salad, dressed with a little lemon juice, and pitta bread.
Shakshuka makes an ideal brunch, a hearty lunch, or a comforting TV dinner!
How much does it cost to make?
The cost per portion of shakshuka is just under £2. Several of the ingredients are kitchen cupboard staples – such as the herbs and spices – and so are worth getting stocked up on as they will last you a while (but the initial purchase of these will cost more than the £2 indicated here). In addition to the cost of the shakshuka, are the salad items and pitta bread which you choose to serve with it.
Could I cook extra and use it for lunch the next day?
Provided you allow time for the shakshuka to cool and then store it in a refrigerator until you use it the following day, this dish could be served up as a delicious cold lunch to have the next day.
Can I make up a big batch to freeze and eat later?
The spicy sauce could be made as a big batch and then divided into portions to freeze for later use. However, I would not advise freezing the finished shakshuka (with the eggs).
Are there any suggested variations on the recipe given here?
You can actually make many variations on the recipe given here, using all sorts of other ingredients. Mushrooms are a delicious and cheap option, but you could also try it made with peppers, feta cheese, spinach, or olives. If you have vegetables that need using, give them a go in the shakshuka (although some will work better than others).
How long does it take to make?
Initial preparation time is around 5 minutes for the shakshuka. Cooking time is around 15 minutes. Whilst the eggs are simmering, this provides the perfect opportunity to prepare the side salad. Total time to make and serve the shakshuka is around 20 minutes.
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