MIDDLE EAST - ISRAEL

BEEF

SHAKSHUKA .

with Braised Eggs,

& Blackened Aubergines.

This fantastic little ‘all-in-one-pan’ dish was taught to us during our time staying in the wonderfully titled ‘Anarchist Commune’; a beautifully eclectic collective of like-minded individuals that lived somewhere outside the realms of convention. Our man, Guy taught us this Shakshuka - meaning "a mixture" in Arabic slang – after a bizarre night out involving a dance-off with a Hasidic Jew in a Russian bar in the middle of Jerusalem, and what a job it did.

 

Like so many recipes the world over, there is no such thing as the definitive Shakshuka ; there are so many different influences, styles, and conflicting origins. Having been introduced into the rich tapestry of Jerusalem’s culinary heritage via a bunch of Tunisian Jews, it is now a firm favourite throughout the city. The real beauty of this dish lies in its adaptability; if it is cooked in one pan, has eggs braised in a spiced tomato based sauce, and has tahini drizzled over the top – you have yourself a shakshuka. It’s very hard not to produce something delicious – a dish made for sharing.

 

Serves 2

 

  • 4 AUBERGINES

  • 1 medium RED ONION {diced}

  • 1 RED PEPPER {roughly chopped}

  •  5 cloves GARLIC {finely grated}

  •  1/2 tsp CUMIN SEEDS

  •  1 (de)seeded RED CHILLI

  •  1/2 tsp GROUND CINNAMON

  •  1/2 tsp SMOKED PAPKIKA

  •  1 tsp SUMAC

  •  

  •  300g BEEF MINCE

  •  2 tsp TOMATO PASTE

  •  3 plum TOMATOES {roughly chopped}

  •  4 free-range EGGS

  •  

  •  good pinch SALT

  •  generous BLACK PEPPER

  •  handful FRESH PARSLEY {roughly chopped}

  •  TAHINI PASTE

  •  4 FLAT BREADS 

 

Prick the skin of the aubergines a number of times with a sharp knife. If using an open fire; place on top of glowing embers. If using a gas stove; place directly over a naked flame on medium heat. Alternatively, place in a baking tray under a medium hot grill. The aubergines want to be slowly turned every 10 minutes so that the entire skin is evenly blackened and the flesh has softened completely. Burning the aubergines gives the smokiness that we are after. Once this has been achieved place all the blackened aubergines into a bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, cut a line down the middle of each and allow the liquid inside to fully drain. Then use a spoon to scoop out the soft white flesh inside, discarding any burnt skin. Put the smoky flesh to one side in a bowl.  


In a large frying pan over a medium heat, with a good glug of olive oil, in goes the onion and the red pepper. Let them soften for a few minutes or until the onions take on some colour, and then in goes all the dried spices as well as the garlic and chilli. Give the spices another minute to toast and come alive.


Add the tomato puree, the minced beef, and give all a good old seasoning with some salt and pepper. Mix all together, making sure that the beef gets covered with the lovely spices and then increase the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes until the beef starts to brown.


Then, in with the chopped tomatoes and the smoky aubergine and half a cup of water. Return to a medium heat. Allow the tomatoes to soften right down until you have a beautifully spiced bolognaise mix (should take about 10 minutes) and then check seasoning again.


With a spoon make 4 separate wells in the mix and then crack an egg into each. Turn the heat to low. The egg whites might start to run, but the yokes should sit snugly in their own little wells – this is what we want. Place a lid over the pan and let it gently bubble away for 10 minutes. Check to see if the whites have set. The yolks should still be runny.        

        
Remove from the heat. Dollop over some tahini sauce, a splash of olive oil, and plenty of fresh parsley. Serve piping hot, straight from the pan with some freshly toasted flatbreads.      
 
 
 

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