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What’s shoushaking?

Everyone! Check out my post title! It’s a pun! Today I made shakshouka, and I was all “what’s shakshouking?” but that didn’t make sense so I had to flip it around. So now it’s like “Hey, shakshouka, what’s shoushaking?” Pretty clever, huh?

And my cleverness doesn’t end there! I’ve been whisking up cleverness into a foamy clever froth and then baking it quickly into a divine cleverness meringue! Sure have.

Allow me to escort you through this journey of wonderment and cleverness. I’ve mentioned it a few times on this hereabout blogaboo and never with any degree of detail. It’s Sunday night! Have a shakshouka night! Step zero: find out what shakshouka is! An lush spicy soup of tomatoes, capsicums and spices, and then at the last moment you poach eggs in it; then serve it with feta and bread and za’atar…oh, just google it. Yeah. See what I mean? Now try saying it: give it a kind of Skyrim shout, too. SHAKshookAHHHHHH! That’s what’s on the cards Chez Spoonfully tonight. And by “cards”, I mean “plates”.

Roast yourself two red capsicums: mine took about an hour at 180°C, then let them cool.

You gots to start right.

Get out some of this sexy juice:

Nectar of the Gods if the Gods are olives.

And very finely chop some onions and carrots. You probably don’t know what that looks like, so here you go:

Pause for photos, obviously.

And then take your behemoth pot (for boiling behemoths):

Welcome back Big Red!

And then combine those last three photos. Pot on stove, oil in pot, onion/carrots in oil. Sizzle, sizzle, etc. Add your roasted capsicums and two tins of tomatoes:

Choice chopped caps!

Add about a canful of water and let it get a-boiling.

Meanwhile, get yourself some herbs and spices together. My stock base for shakshouka varies wildly depending on what I’ve got, what needs using up and what needs pruning. Today, there was coriander that needed using up, and parsley and mint needed pruning. A little coriander and mint for an accompanying cooling yoghurt sauce, and plenty of coriander and parsley for the broth. Also thyme. Spices: vary according to taste and availability. Since we’re having peeps over for shakshouka sharing, I toned back the spices. So tonight’s stock base:

  • parsely
  • thyme
  • salt
  • paprika
  • cumin seeds
  • ground coriander seeds
  • one fresh mild chilli

Chop it all up, add another canful or so of water and bring it to the boil. Once you’ve got a rolling boil happening, turn it back and let it go to a simmer for a while, then taste it and make sure the salt level’s right.

If it’s not, you might have a sudden burst of YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE PERFECT?

Stroke of salty genius, baby.

A huge spoonful of finely chopped preserved lemon, baby. Wish I’d added more.

I was going to make some tortillas and do fresh za’atar flatbreads, but we’ve got some cornbread leftover that is a textural soulmate to the thick shakshouka. Beautiful.

I puréed my mighty shakshouka, then brought it back to a boil just before serving. When you’ve got it boiling beautifully, it’s time for an extra helping of RAD. Press the back of your ladle (or a massive spork or whatever) and make a little pit in the soup and crack an egg into it. Poach your egg in the simmering soup for a wee while: four minutes for me, to get an egg that’s cooked through but still has a soft yolk.

Then ladle into bowls and coax your poached eggs into the broth. Delicious, but…food photographer I am not.

Not photogenic.

Something that people constantly mention in relation to shakshouka is what a great hangover breakfast it is. Jesus. I cannot support such deviance. I mean, when I’m hungover, it’s all I can do to weep and beg for slices of cucumber or frozen mandarin segments. The last thing I can imagine doing with any joy is ingesting a spicy and flavour-intense blend of rich ripe veggies, with cornbread, mint yoghurt and za’atar.

An unnecessary aside, however: shakshouka is delicious and filling; cornbread and yoghurt is smooth and delicious; and if you need a triumphant dinner for a bunch of peeps, it’s the way to go.

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