The credit for this delicious brunch/breakfast goes to my captive tasters. It’s a favourite at their now renowned monthly brunch club. Time short worker-bees, with very few evenings between them, this is their creative way to keep up with friends.

Shakshuka is A heavenly combination of eggs, tomatoes and spices. The sauce basics don’t change but the variety of optional additions make this a very versatile dish. And versatility is just what’s required with lockdown rules and shopping just once a week.

During our cohabitation for lockdown and to differentiate between the working week and the weekend, my captive tasters like to cook on Saturdays and Sundays. This gives me a well-earned and welcome break, but it also means that I have to let go of my need to control my kitchen, and the weeks ingredients. Its been hard. Delightful smells emanating from the kitchen undoubtedly mean that carefully crafted meal plans will require a rethink.  That where there was once a whole chorizo for the evening chicken dish, I will find an embryonic piece, umbilically – but uselessly – attached to its little piece of string. Or that my hoard of onions for a Pissaladier will have been expertly, but not quite as intended, very well reduced.  If I’ve achieved one thing in lockdown its ‘not to sweat the small stuff.’ It’s by far-and-away more important to come together happily for yet another delicious and companionable meal.

The extra additions for Shakshuka should add value to the texture – something with a bit of substance to compliment the softness of the sauce and the eggs. This recipe’s optional extra is chorizo – it could easily have been roasted aubergine, cooked chickpeas or even cubed, precooked, new potato. Sliced or chopped pitted olives pump up the interest level by adding a bit of saltiness. If you like the idea of the smokiness of the chorizo but don’t have any, add a pinch or two of smoky paprika.





Serves 4

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 small smoked cooking chorizo, sliced (about 100g)

2 red (or white) onions

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1-2 eggs per person

100g cheese -a salty hard goats cheese works best or use crumbled feta

10g chopped coriander

Plain yoghurt to serve



Heat the oil in a large high sided, lidded, sauté or frying pan. Add the sliced chorizo and cook until it is sizzling. Once it has released its colour and flavour into the oil remove with a slotted spoon to a dish.

Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic and the spices cooking for 30 seconds or until they release their aroma and then tip in the tomatoes. Stir well and simmer the sauce for ten minutes, or so, until it is reduced and thickened.

Return the cooked chorizo to the pan (or the roasted aubergine, drained chickpeas, cubed potatoes, and sliced olives) mixing well. Adjust the seasoning with a few twists of black pepper and salt if required.

Make a few indentation in the sauce with the back of a wooden spoon. Break in the eggs allowing them to nestle into these indentations. fix the lid on the pan and over a low heat cook for a further 5-6 minutes but which time the egg whites should be cooked and the yolks still tender.

Scatter over the cheese and a little chopped coriander. Serve the Shakshuka straight from the pan with slices of good bread (warmed or toasted if liked), extra coriander and yoghurt.


Happy Cooking

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