Shakshuka - Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

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Though it's North African in origin, Shakshuka is popular throughout the Middle East and particularly in Israel, where it may as well be one of the national dishes.


1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes or 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper, more if you like it hot!
1/2 tsp sugar (optional, to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish


Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet or large saute pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and cook until mixture is fragrant, add the bell pepper and cook over medium heat an additional 5-7 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste and more cayenne pepper for a spicier version.

Crack the eggs, one at a time and evenly spaced around the edge and one in the center on top of the tomato sauce. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes at a simmer until the eggs are cooked "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce. Sauce will cook down and thicken but don't let it cook down too much or it may burn. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve with crusty bread for dipping in the sauce or served over creamy polenta (my favorite).


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