A casual brunch on a Sunday morning is one of my favourite ways to entertain, keep things simple and think of a meal you can serve from one pot with some nice bread, gluten free if necessary and a big jug of fresh orange juice with a bottle of prosecco and you will have a chilled out host and happy guests.
Better still would be to find a recipe that can be prepped or cooked the night before that just needs a few minutes attention when your guests arrive and you will have a very pleasant afternoon.
Shakshuka is something I have been meaning to try for a long time, I tend to make variations on this theme of eggs, pan cooked with fresh tomatoes, usually adding potatoes, peppers and chorizo, quite a bit but I felt that eggs served so simply in a simmering tomato sauce could be either a bit too acidic for breakfast or a bit too boring to serve for brunch. I can happily report I was wrong and I will be making this again and again, for brunch and also as a simple supper. I loosely followed the recipe from My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz (I will eventually be able to put this cook book down and try recipes from other books I promise!) but I used shallots instead of onion, nixed the caraway seed and I reduced my sauce until it was almost a thick paste as that is how I prefer my tomato based sauces but you can reduce the cooking time if you want a more liquid sauce.
I served the Shakshuka with crusty bread for my guests, a nice gluten free baguette from Marks & Spencer’s for me, extra feta and some chorizo I sliced and fried, I think next time I will add the chorizo to the sauce so all of the lovely chorizo oil is incorporated
To serve 4
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 1/2 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, if you are using table salt then salt to taste
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons tomato puree
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 1 teaspoon red wine
• 2 good handfuls of baby spinach (about 100 grams) , well washed and drained
• 1 pack (150 grams) feta cheese, cut in ½ inch cubes
• 4 large free range eggs
• In a wide pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
• Add in the shallots onions and garlic and cook gently for five to eight minutes until soft and translucent but not browned.
• Stir in the chopped chilli, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika salt and pepper. Cook for a minute.
• Pour in the tinned tomatoes and then stir in the tomato puree, honey, and vinegar.
• Keep the heat at medium and cook for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
• If you are cooking this the night before you could turn off the heat now and cover the pan until the morning before reheating the sauce and following the next two steps. If you would like a thicker sauce allow the pan to sit over a low heat, stirring every now and then until the sauce has reduced to your preferred consistency.
• Add your washed, drained spinach to the pan and allow it to wilt down before stirring it in to the sauce.
• With the pan on a very low heat add the cubed feta to the sauce and use your spoon to gently bury the cheese in the tomato sauce.
• Just before you are ready to serve make four indentations in the sauce and crack in the eggs, use a spatula or a fork to pull the egg whites in to the sauce, being careful not to break the yolks.
• Keep the pan on a low simmer and cook until you are happy the eggs whites are set but the yolks are still deliciously runny, this could take up to ten minutes depending on the size of your eggs. If you have a liquid sauce you could baste the eggs with the tomato sauce. My sauce was too thick for this.
Simple but very tasty.