A couple of months ago I finally got around to signing up to Aussie Farmers Direct for a weekly box of fruit and veggies. I loved the idea of having a constant supply of fresh produce from which I could plan weeknight dinners, instead of struggling to put something together with the sad dregs in my crisper. I often fail to find time between work and school pick-up to buy ingredients and I’m not very good at stocking up once a week so this is the perfect solution!
So now every Wednesday I find a box of goodies at my doorstep. I’ve only got a rough idea what’ll be inside each week but I’ve had no trouble finding a purpose for everything (womboks are the hardest to use up though…). It’s kinda like Masterchef’s Mystery Box; there’s a challenge in working with what you’ve got and I’ve certainly been far more inventive with dinner lately :)
I do end up with quite a few tomatoes towards the end of the weekly run though so I’ve been regularly making batches of Shakshuka sauce. Shakshuka is a North African dish of poached eggs in a rich tomato based sauce and easily the best emergency meal ever. My husband loves it as a light dinner and my little girl (who absolutely adores the stuff) will happily tuck into a serve after turning her nose up at all other meal options offered.
I first experienced Shakshuka at the South Fremantle Farmers Market (also at Subiaco Farmers Market on Saturdays) and it soon became a regular breakfast treat shared between me and Miss 5. It was actually my little girl who suggested that I make my own and while I still enjoy a hearty serve of the Kaspi’s gorgeous Shakshuka during a market visit, I’m pretty happy about having my own stock of this wonderful sauce for just so occasions.
My recipe is based on David Lebovitz’s for Shakshuka, modified both for personal taste and the Thermomix. I don’t use fresh chilli and only add a small amount of dried chilli since my kids and hubby don’t tolerate it that well. I’m also not a fan of caraway so they got the chop too. If you like things spicy then feel free to follow David’s ingredient list exactly. If you also don’t have a Thermomix, then follow the original recipe and cook it all up on stovetop. Still easy :)
When I make up a TMX bowl of sauce, I usually freeze half and save the other half for a meal during the week. Like any sauce, the flavour does improve over a few days but I recommend using the sauce up within the week. The sauce is wonderful to use on the day too of course but I recommend using the stovetop method to thicken the sauce up. If freezing, keep for up to two months.
Shakshuka is just the tonic for cold winter days but I suspect I’ll be enjoying this over summer too with a glass of cider :D
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika, smoked or sweet
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, or to taste
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 ripe tomatoes, quartered (3 if not using capsicum)
- 1 medium capscicum (any colour), core/stem removed and cut into pieces.
- 1 440g can of crushed tomatoes (2 cans if not using fresh tomatoes)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp red wine or cider vinegar (or try a dash of lemon or verjuice)
- 4 to 6 eggs
- Run the Thermomix on Speed 10 and place garlic cloves through the hole. This will ensure a fine chopping. Stop TMX.
- Place onions in TMX bowl and chop on Speed 6 for a few seconds, and a few extra seconds more if you don't like chunky sauces.
- Add olive oil, salt, pepper and all spices then sautée on 100C for 3 minutes.
- Add tomato quarters and capsicum pieces to TMX bowl. With lid hole covered, chop on Speed 7 for five seconds (longer if you prefer a smoother sauce).
- Add crushed tomatoes, honey, tomato paste and vinegar and cook on 100C for 10 minutes on Speed 1.
- Allow to cool if planning to use later, transferring to storage containers. Otherwise place entire batch of sauce in a large frypan or shallow pot (24 - 30cm in width). Heat sauce through on medium heat until it thickens a little and bubbles. Gently add up to six eggs, well spaced out in the pan. If using a smaller pan (20-24cm pan), add only half the sauce and cook ¾ eggs. Mini pans are perfect for about ¼ of the sauce with 1 or 2 eggs.
- Cook eggs on medium to low heat until egg whites are opaque. You can use a spoon to baste the yolk with hot sauce to help cook it. Otherwise if you take the pan off heat and allow the eggs to rest in the pan for a few minutes, the yolk will be runny but ready to eat.
- Serve with crusty bread and make sure you scoop up all the sauce!
- Varoma Method - I did have a go making Shakshuka with Varoma and while not unsuccessful, the result isn't nearly as satisfying as stovetop Shakshuka (or even oven, I imagine). If you want to try, place some sauce in a shallow dish that is small enough to sit on the bottom of the Varoma dish and place an egg or two in the centre. Get the TMX started on Varoma/12 minutes. Once the TMX reaches Varoma temperature, place the shallow dish in Varoma dish and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes. You should hopefully have an egg that has a soft yolk but generally cooked through.