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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Friday, December 14, 2012


for the seventh night of Hanukkah, I made shakshouka for dinner. okay, the truth is that I made it because I got a great deal on medium-hot New Mexican dried red chiles, and I couldn't wait for tomorrow's carne adovada to try them out. instead of using powdered dried red chile, I made a puree out of the dried chiles. most of the puree went in the fridge for another dish, but I saved 1/2 cup for the shakshouka. the chiles gave the sauce a gorgeous, deep, rich color & flavor. I made a couple more changes from the recipe I usually use -- instead of tomato paste, I used soaked, pureed sun-dried tomatoes to thicken the sauce up, and I added a few spoonfuls of an Italian green tomato relish I made earlier this year. I didn't have bell peppers on hand, so I used some finely chopped pickled jalapeno, which worked very well -- so well, I'll definitely do that again. finally: although shakshouka is usually served with bread (to which I have *no* objection!), I had some roasted potatoes and butternut squash to use up, so I mashed those together with milk, butter, salt & pepper (served that way, it was definitely a dairy meal, and very very delicious at that! but it would be just as good with bread, which is how I'll eat the leftovers). it probably took a total of 20-30 minutes to make, yet tasted like something I'd slaved over all day. shakshouka will be on the menu again soon!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1-2 pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped OR 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red chile puree (dry red chile pods, stems, veins & seeds removed, soaked in hot water for ~20 minutes, then pureed in a food processor, adding just enough of the soaking water to facilitate processing -- you want to end up with a nice, thick puree when done) OR 2 tablespoons powdered pure red chile (not cayenne; not chili powder -- you want pure red chili pods, powdered) plus 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes OR 1-1/2 cans (16-20 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato puree (starting with dried tomatoes that are NOT packed in oil, process just as you did the chili pods) or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • *optional: a few spoonfuls of green tomato relish, if you have it on hand
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • pinch of sugar, to taste
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 eggs
in a 2-3 quart dutch or french oven OR deep cast iron frying pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onion and saute over medium heat for several minutes, until it starts to brown. add the pepper and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then lower heat a bit and add the garlic. cook for another minute, just to soften (but be careful not to burn the garlic!), then add the chili puree (or powdered chiles and paprika), tomatoes and sun-dried tomato puree (or tomato paste), bring to a simmer, and add the optional green tomato relish, ground cumin and parsley. simmer for a few minutes until sauce begins to thicken, then taste and season with a bit of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. crack the eggs directly over the simmering tomato sauce, spacing them evenly, then cover the pot and cook for 7-15 minutes longer, until eggs are done to your liking. serve with warm, crusty bread, or another over mashed potatoes or polenta.

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