Shakshuka with Eggplant and Chickpeas

Shakshuka with Eggplant and Chickpeas

Serves 4 – 6 People

1 Large Eggplant, peeled and diced into ½” Cubes ¼ Cup Olive Oil, Divided
1 Onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
2 Colored Bell Peppers, halved, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips (I like red, orange and yellow peppers)
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼ Cup Harissa Sauce, in a tube 2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 tsp. Cumin 1 tsp. Coriander
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper ½ tsp. Cinnamon
1 – 28 oz. Can Whole Tomatoes, in their juices 1- 14.5 oz. can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar 2 tsp. Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Water Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. Dried Mint (optional) 6 oz. Feta Cheese, chopped into cubes (optional)
6 Whole Eggs Fresh Cilantro for Garnish
Crusty Bread, Pita, Fresh Salads to serve on the side

Place eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Allow the salt to permeate the eggplant for about 20 minutes, pulling out the excess moisture. After 20 minutes empty the eggplant cubes onto a kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. When the oil is glistening add the eggplant to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring so the cubes don’t stick to the skillet. Remove the cooked eggplant from the skillet, place on a small dish and set aside. Next, add the remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and add the onions, bell peppers, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the garlic cloves and stir together for about 1 minute. Next add the: harissa sauce, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Using a wooden spoon, stir the spices into the vegetable mixture for about 2 minutes, coating the veggies thourougly.

Next empty the tomatoes into a bowl and coarsely crush them with your hands. Stir the tomatoes, their juices, chickpeas, reserved eggplant, water, red wine vinegar, granulated sugar and 1 tsp. salt into the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Loosely cover the skillet so that some of the liquid evaporates out while it’s simmering, yet, still allowing the sauce to gently thicken. After simmering for about 30 minutes, uncover the sauce and stir in the dried mint. Taste the sauce at this point and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.

Now you may move on to finishing the dish, or you may refrigerate or freeze the sauce for later, this is a great time saver for a lazy weekend morning brunch! If you are saving the sauce for a later day wait to add the feta cheese and eggs until then.

Follow these steps to finish the dish. Return the sauce to a simmer, adding a bit of water if you think it’s a bit too thick, then stir in the feta cubes. Next, make 6 small divots in the sauce and crack a whole egg into each divot. Let the simmering sauce gently cook the eggs. If you like a runny yolk you will want to cook the eggs for about 6 – 7 minutes, if you like them harder simmer until they are cooked to your liking. You will find that the eggs might stick a bit to the bottom of the skillet, if this concerns you, you may cover the skillet while the eggs are cooking. This will help them cook more evenly and more quickly, although you will find though that your yolks will not be bright yellow once uncovered, they will have a cloudy look about them instead. If you choose to cover the skillet, check on the eggs every few minutes so you can pull the dish off the heat when they are ready.

When the eggs are ready, take the whole skillet and place it in the center of your table. Sprinkle the dish with fresh cilantro and serve family style with crusty bread or pita to soak up all the sauce.

Alternate Cooking Instruction
You may also bake the final dish, either family style or in individual portions. For individual servings spoon the simmering Shakshuka Sauce into individual dishes, or leave it in the skillet you prepared it in. Preheat the oven to 375⁰F and nestle the eggs in each dish or into the skillet as noted above. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the egg white is cooked all the way through and finish with cilantro.