Whole spice shakshuka
I’ve been making shakshuka for a long time. It’s my favorite weekend breakfast and the easiest weeknight dinner. I’ve got my own recipe, which is a riff on a very traditional one my dad learned while living near a Jewish settlement in Libya in his early 20’s…. I like it. And when I make it really spicy my husband likes it. So when I had the shakshuka at Barcha in San Francisco, I was delighted to find a new take on an old favorite. Chef Michel Adams ads warm spices, like cinnamon and fennel, to boost the sweetness. He then stirs in a bit of demi glace to add a supercharged flavor punch. If you don’t have demi glace on hand (which most of us probably don’t, unless you’re a baller) a spoonful of beef bouillon works just as well. Also, you can use all ground spices instead of whole, but I don’t think it’ll taste as good. Trust me, this is going to take your shakshuka to a whole new level. I, for one, won’t make it any other way ever again.
Placing a lid over the eggs when they're cooking will help speed up the process. Though be sure to watch them carefully, as they could easily overcook.
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon bouillon (the Better than Bouillon stuff is actually pretty good)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Serrano chili, minced and seeds removed (unless you love spice)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
Small bunch fresh cilantro
¼ cup labneh (or Greek yogurt)
Pita bread (optional)
In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds. Dissolve the bouillon in ¼ cup hot water and set aside.
In a thick-bottom, high-sided pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, Serrano, garlic, and a large pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the ground spices, as well as the cinnamon and Aleppo, and cook for another minute to let the spices bloom.
Add the tomatoes and their juices. Stir in the bouillon liquid. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes are no longer raw, 30 to 35 minutes.
Once the sauce is cooked, taste it and add salt, if needed.
Make 4 little wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each well. Cook until the whites are set and the yolk is still slightly runny, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, spoon into bowls and garnish with labneh and cilantro leaves.
Serve with toasted pita, if you’d like (But I wouldn’t eat it any other way).