Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Shakshuka - Pimped with Merguez

'Why have you put little turds in my breakfast?' asked The Boyfriend, when he finally emerged from his bed at midday on Sunday. That was the thanks I got for making a hangover busting feast for him (us). This is a rather exotic version of Eggs In Purgatory, hailing from Tunisia, Morocco, Libya or Algeria* depending on who you listen to and this recipe is an amalgamation of the many recipes out there. I think it's fair to say we have Yottam Ottolenghi to thank for the recent enthusiasm for North African and Middle-Eastern cooking, our cupboards are exploding enthusiastically with za'atar and sumac and what not, and if it means I get to eat things like this on a regular basis, hooray for him. 

Feeds two slightly hanging people who should know better. Grill/fry some lamb merguez sausages, they can be slightly undercooked as they will cook with the eggs a bit later. Just brown them nicely. In a large deep frying pan heat a generous glug of olive oil and gently fry one chopped onion, two chopped garlic cloves and a chopped red chilli (seeds in or out, your choice, it always makes me annoyed when a recipe says 'remove seeds', because what if I don't want to??!), half a chopped red pepper (you can use a whole one but I find it a bit sweet). After about 7 minutes add a tbsp harissa and cook for a further few minutes. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and season well. Let it bubble away gentle for maybe 10 minutes, until it has noticeably thickened. At this point take a spoon, make a little well in the sauce and crack an egg into said well. repeat three times then artistically place the sausages around the eggs. take a spoon/fork and with the wrong end, swirl the egg whites around, mixing into the sauce a bit but don't break the yolks. It can be a little tricky getting the whites cooked before the yolks overcook but keeping the dish uncovered helps. It will take about 6 minutes for the eggs to cook, less with a lid on. Serve strewn with chopped mint/parsley/coriander and a dollop of natural yoghurt or labneh (just strained yoghurt, which I am currently obsessed with). A bit of bread of some description wouldn't go amiss either.

You could pimp this further with feta, spring onions, chorizo instead of Merguez, whatever you have handy. Try not to get sausages that look like little turds though, although they did taste amazing...

*or all of the above. I think it might be like hummus, no-one really knows where it originated.