Shakshuka

Brunch is the ultimate utility meal.

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Think about it: one meal covers breakfast and lunch, and sometimes, if you’ve particularly overindulged, you can stretch it to dinner.

Not to mention it’s usually made up of dishes that combine protein, starch and veggies into one. And also that when hosting brunch for a group, almost all the work can be done ahead!

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Brunch, you’re perfect. Don’t ever change.

But despite being your typical brunch-loving Millennial, it took me until April of this year to try my hand at shakshuka.

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I think I was a little intimidated by something that involves so much sauce and so few carbs to soak it up. The solution? Giant slices of garlic bread that serve as the perfect vessel for mopping up excess sauce.

And while I didn’t try this, I suspect you could make the tomato sauce base several hours in advance, or even overnight, reheating it, cracking in the eggs and baking right before serving.

IMG_2587I also made it dairy free and passed feta around the table for resident cheese eaters, but you can always stir the feta into the sauce before adding the eggs.

It’s the perfect, easy midday meal for a crowd that looks and feels exotic – or even a quick weekday dinner.

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Don’t mind my messy yolks

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Shaksuka
(Adapted from the New York Times)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (sensing a theme here?)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt or more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 eggs

Optional, to top
Feta
Chopped cilantro
Hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat oil in large, oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron. Add onion and bell pepper and cook over medium-low heat until very soft, about 20 minutes.

Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook 1 minute.

Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.

Gently crack eggs into the skillet, distributing evenly over the surface of the tomato sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper. Bake until eggs are just set, about 7 to 10 minutes.

You may be tempted to overcook it because they will still look a little wobbly but resist the temptation! You want set whites and yolks that are still liquid.

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