Photo: barol16 (iStock)

In One-Pan Wonders, we look for easy and delicious weeknight dinners that can be cooked using a single pan. 

My husband started making shakshuka for our weekly rugby breakfast with the neighbors. To him, it was an easy way to feed a lot of people. It’s also delicious: a spicy Moroccan vegetable stew with eggs poached right unto it. It’s one of the only dishes I can think of that will wow your table any time you serve it: breakfast, brunch, late-night dinner. Its showy presentation never fails to impress (we also just brought it to a wintry neighborhood brunch, where it was similarly devoured). 

Some basic shakshuka elements
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

Brian makes it look easy, even though it’s a bit involved, so I had him walk me through the whole thing. I have to say, it turned out pretty great. It’s rather hard to mess up as long as you get your textures right (for example, to Brian, the worst sin in the world is to overcook an egg).

His ingredient list is pretty specific, but you can also add any vegetables you’re trying to use up out of your fridge. Start out with some red onions and your whole spice seeds first, and let cook a long time until they just begin to brown. Then add garlic, then jalapeño and all the dried spices, which makes it pasty. After a can of tomatoes to cook it all in, he then adds some red peppers toward the end, to keep their crunchy texture intact.

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The trickiest part of the shakshuka is also the most eye-catching: When the mixture is thick enough to hold a mild indentation, make a small hole/ditch for each egg. Cracking eggs right in there could possibly lead to shells, or broken yolks, so (depending on your egg skills), use a separate bowl or ramekin to crack each egg in, then fill the holes with eggs.

Finally, Brian adds feta with a flourish on the top. Also dried fenugreek leaves, which he basically adds to everything, but they add a wonderfully smoky, savory flavor in this case. The result is a one-dish meal that pleases nearly everyone (even vegetarians). Bring it to your next potluck dinner party and bask in everyone’s appreciation of your shakshuka prowess (Brian does this all the time).

Photo: Gwen Ihnat

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Brian’s Shakshuka

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper de-seeded (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stalks, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • Cilantro and feta cheese for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Heat skillet on high. When hot, add oil and allow it to heat. When oil is hot, add onions and sauté until onions are softened. Add garlic and cumin seeds and continue to sauté until onions begin to lightly brown.

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Reduce heat to medium and add jalapeño and dried spices, stirring often until onions are coated. Cook this for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, red peppers, and cilantro stalks, stirring occasionally until mixture begins to thicken a bit. Add salt to taste at this point. No stirring after this step.

Make small indentations in mixture to form a well for your eggs. Crack eggs in a ramekin before adding to pan, then move around the pan and add eggs in a pattern around edges.

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When eggs are in place, cover and allow to poach in mixture. Turn off heat when eggs are nearly at desired doneness, as they will continue to cook in hot mixture. Garnish with feta and chopped cilantro and serve, ideally with crusty bread.