Friday, December 20, 2013

Shakshuka: Don't Call It Breakfast

Thank heavens for NPR. All these years I've been covering up a dirty secret, carefully glossing over what seemed to be a major character flaw, and now our very own Deena Prichep, writer, producer and radio personality extraordinaire (Hey, she's talked with all my crushes at NPR…that qualifies!), has absolved my shame.

And that is…oh god, it's so hard to type this…I will, on occasion, make breakfast for dinner.

The ragu.

There, I've said it. Breakfast for dinner. Usually involving eggs, but occasionally pancakes or, heaven help me, waffles. Yes, waffles.

Whew…I feel so much better! Like a heavy burden has been lifted, like my life doesn't need to spiral into embarrassment and recrimination every evening when the light starts fading and I look up from Facebook and realize Dave's going to be home in 30 minutes and I don't have a gorgeous roast chicken or braised meat to set on the table.

Dinner is served.

Panic mode! But then I relax because, as anyone who indulges in this practice knows, breakfast items like the ones Deena writes about—chilaquiles, waffles, omelets and pancakes—can be easily whipped up in less than an hour.

One example from just the other night is shakshuka, a dish of eggs poached in a vegetable ragu. Flexible as far as required ingredients go, it's a great way to clean out the vegetable bin of those bits and bobs that didn't quite make it into other meals and might not make it to the next day (you know what I'm talking about here…).

So free yourself from your chains, grab the egg carton out of the fridge and declare your liberation. Let me hear a "Hallelujah!"


2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and sliced crosswise into 1/8" slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 c. crushed tomatoes
1 small bunch kale, about 3 cups, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp. smoked paprika (I used piquante, or slightly spicy, but mild dulce is fine, too.)
1 tsp. cumin
Salt, to taste
6 eggs
Chevre (optional)
Crusty bread (optional)

In large skillet (I used a large cast iron skillet, but any kind will do), heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and sauté till tender. Add garlic, bell pepper and spices and continue sautéing. When peppers are tender, add tomatoes and bring to a simmer over low heat. Stir in the kale and allow it to cook down into the ragu, about 15 to 20 minutes.

At this point, if the shame is too much, you could always just cook up a pot of pasta and mix the ragu into it, but I'd encourage you to go for broke:

Make six slight indentations in the vegetables and crack an egg into each one (the indentations help to cup the egg and keep it from running all over the surface). Cover and cook until the whites of the eggs are cooked but the yolks are still soft. (The yolks will have a slightly translucent white film when they're done, but watch so you can catch them just as the film appears.) Serve in the skillet or plate by taking a scoop of eggs and ragu, then top with a dollop of chevre, if desired. Slices of crusty bread are encouraged for sopping.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe. I've had some wonderful Shakshuka at Tasty & Sons. Looking forward to trying this version at home.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Hope you like it, Anon! And keep me posted on any adjustments you make…this is a recipe that can be changed to suit your tastes.