Say ‘shakshouka’ ten times as fast as you can.
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September 01, 2020
Everyone will adore you when you make shakshouka in the kitchen, but throw it together on a camp stove during your next car camping trip and you’ll be the real star. A spiced bowl of stewed tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions, topped with feta, eggs, and parsley, results in a feel-good sort of meal to write home about.
A few years ago I was on a search for camping meals that don’t involve Top Ramen, canned bean and bacon soup, or pouches of dehydrated sludge. My friend and I perused the web and came up with a list of novel ideas to break up the Friday night camp stove monotony. One recipe, with an unfamiliar title, stole the show. Shakshouka. While not feasible as a backpacking meal, this dish has become a favorite in both the kitchen and at the car-camping picnic table. Sidenote: modifications are necessary if you decide to make this recipe while camping.
Apparently, like so many other dishes, no one reallllly knows where shakshouka originated. Turkey? Morocco? Yemen? Good question. Wherever it’s actually from, shakshouka remains popular in North Africa and the Middle East.
In a nutshell, shakshouka is composed of stewed, spiced vegetables, (usually) tomatoes, (sometimes) minced meat, and various other toppings depending on who’s running the show in the kitchen. Well, I’m running the show today, and we’ll be topping our shakshouka with feta, fresh parsley, and some freshly ground black pepper.
You can see I’ve prepared the dish in a cast-iron skillet. Acidic ingredients, like tomatoes, react with the iron and can ruin the seasoning of your skillet and cause your food to taste metallic. If your skillet is well-seasoned, the cooking time is short enough so that there shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure to transfer all the contents of the pan to serving bowls or tupperware soon after everything is finished cooking. If your skillet is relatively new, unused, or recently reseasoned, go with a stainless-steel or enamel-coated pan.
I add a couple sliced fresh tomatoes to complement the large amount of canned tomatoes. And notice I’ve used the word sliced. My favorite way to prepare this dish is to slice the bell peppers, the onion, and the fresh tomatoes. No worries if you prefer to dice the vegetables, but I think the sliced version gives the stew a heartier texture.
When it’s time to serve, provide either crusty bread or pitas so everyone can sop up the remaining tomato sauce at the end of the meal.
(click each step as you go to keep track of your progress)
Finished and want to make it again?
- Prep time: 15min
- Cook time: 45min
- Serving size: 3-4
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- One 800 g (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 30 g (1/2 cup) fresh parsley, chopped
- 100 g (3.5 oz) feta cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 45 mL (3 Tbsp) olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 6 eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add another 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and the bell peppers and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. At this point, preheat the oven to 200° C (390° F).
Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Decrease heat to medium-low and add the tomato slices, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp oil, and crushed tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and use a spoon to make six indentations in the shakshouka around the perimeter of the pan. Crack one egg into each indentation. If an egg starts to run out of its indentation, use the spoon to build a "wall" around the egg from the surrounding tomato mixture.
Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. The egg white should be barely set and the yolks should still be very runny.
Top with crumbled feta, parsley, and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve hot with crusty bread.
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