Saturday, December 28, 2013

This should have peppers

I saw a short, annoying video about how to make shukshaka, which is a north african dish. The woman in the video had such irritating mannerisms that I'm not going to link to it. I'll just tell you about the food instead, which was just like this, but with bell peppers in the sauce. I have no peppers today and I don't have much else in the house either. This was quick and uses the kind of things that are left at the end of the week after I've eaten everything else, but before I go shopping.

1 onion
a generous amount of olive oil
a bunch of salt
lots of black pepper
some smoked paprika, maybe half a teaspoon?
a bay leaf
a sprig of rosemary

some garlic
1 /2 large can chopped tomatoes, or a whole small can if you have that.

a number of eggs

Pre heat the oven to 450.

Thinly slice the onion, and saute it in an oven safe skillet with the oil, salt, pepper, paprika and herbs. When the onions are a little brown and caramelized, chop up as many garlic cloves as you prefer. I used 2. Add those to the pan and let them cook for about a minute. Add the tomatoes, cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasonings, give it a stir, and crack on some eggs. Mine is a 10 inch pan, and I used 4 eggs, but the number is up to you. Bake for 6 minutes, serve with some bread or something. If you put some greens on the plate, it will look a lot fancier.


1. Don't put the garlic in the pan at the beginning with the onions. It will just burn and taste bitter.
2. The original recipe says to saute some red bell peppers in with the onions, but I kinda like it this way. It's simple.
3. I made toast to go with it, but I bet it would be good over noodles too. Or rice.
4. When they come out of the oven, the whites will still be a little jiggly. If you like them that way, eat them at once, otherwise, let them stand for one minute. The sauce is so hot it will continue to cook the eggs for quite a while, just dish them up when they reach the stage you want.
5. In the summer when fresh tomatoes are cheaper, you could use those and I bet it would taste great. You might have to cook them a little longer before you add the eggs though.

I think the smoked paprika is key to making this recipe come out right, especially since there are no bell peppers in it. Smoked paprika is usually mildly spicy, but not cayenne level hot, and you can still distinctly taste the sweet pepper flavor too. You can be fairly generous without overpowering everything else in the dish. The smokiness of different batches varies somewhat, I've discovered, so you'll need to adjust the amount you use based on how much smoky flavor you want relative to how much spicy and how much bell pepper flavor. It's interesting stuff.

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