Wild Shakshuka under a pita bread blanket

By • September 20, 2009 • 0 Comments


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Author Notes: This recipe is inspired by the traditional Shakshuka, but next to the basic ingredients there is so much more, including pita bread baked over the oven dish. This makes the dish a nice surprise and a social happening when you share it. You can rip of pieces of bread together and dip it in the egg. Don’t be put off by this recipe because there is bread making involved, it is surprisingly easy to make and worth the effort. I explain some short cuts on this recipe as well, so you can sleep a bit longer if you like. Janneke Verheij

Serves 2

Shakshuka:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 handfuls coarsley chopped spinach
  • 80 milliliters ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 drops Tabasco
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Pita blanket

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 packet yeast (7gram)
  • 180 milliliters luke warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 milliliters olive oil
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the luke warm water and let it stand for 5 min so the yeast can become active. You will see it’s active if there is foam forming on the water that crawls up slowly.
  2. Put half of the flour with the salt and oil in a large bowl, add the yeast mixture and mix it with a wooden spoon until it is a porridge like substance. Cover with a wet towel and put away on a warm spot until doubled in size, between 45 min/ an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven on 200C./392F. In the meantime we will start with the Shakshuka. It’s time to cut! For people who want to make a fast version, they can put the ingredients that have to be finely cut into the kitchen machine but I like a bit of cutting work to wake up. If you are afraid of your fingers when you have to make this after a heavy night out, you can also make the sauce the day before and store it in the fridge. Warm it before putting it in the oven dish. This makes the entire process much faster. Same for the bread, if you make it the night before, you can let it rise slowly in the fridge, take it out an hour before you use it so it can get to room temperature.
  4. Coarsely chop a ¼ onion, 1 clove of garlic, the tomatoes and the spinach. Finely chop the basil, parsley, spring onion, ¼ onion, 1 clove of garlic.
  5. Take a large heavy based pan. On a medium fire warm two tablespoons of olive oil and bake the coarsely chopped onions until soft, add the coarsely chopped garlic and bake for another minute. Add the tomatoes and let it simmer until the tomatoes are soft and formed a little sauce. The trick is to add these remaining ingredients at the last moment before you put the entire sauce in the oven dish, this way these ingredients stay a bit raw which gives the sauce a fresh taste. If your tomatoes do not provide enough sauce, just add some tomato sauce yourself.
  6. When the bread is risen, add the ketchup, ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 5 drops of Tabasco (or more if you like it hot) and the finely chopped ingredients to the sauce and warm it shortly, add pepper and salt to taste.
  7. Lay a little lake of sauce on the bottom of a medium sized oven dish. Lay the spinach on top and put the rest of the sauce on top of the spinach. Make three shallow holes in the sauce and break the eggs in the holes. Make sure the egg yellow doesn’t break. To make sure of this, you can break the eggs in a little bowl and slide from the bowl in the sauce one by one.
  8. Back to the bread Dough can be quiet stubborn and not listen to the quantities we have written down for it on paper, so you might not need the entire quantity of flour, or maybe you need a little more, try to feel the structure, it needs to be flexible, as warm as your hands but not sticking to your hands too much. That’s why we incorporate the second batch of flour hand by hand, so we can feel when the dough has enough flour. Another reason is that when you make this pre mixture with half of the flour, your bread will be softer and more flexible. 8. Use the wooden spoon to beat down the risen bread, it will be quite sticky and full of air. Add the remaining of the flour hand by hand an incorporate it in the dough with the spoon. When the work gets too heavy with the spoon, switch to use your hands. Knead flour in the dough until only slightly sticky.
  9. If you make the dough the night before, place it now in a plastic container and store it in the fridge, don’t forget to take it out an hour before you use it so it can get to room temperature again. In this stage you can kneed in the sesame and/ or poppy seeds shortly through the dough.
  10. Flour your worktop, put the dough on top, put flour on top of the dough and work it with your rolling pin until ½ a centimeter thick.
  11. Now wet the upper edge of the baking dish a bit and cover the bowl with the bread. Make sure it seals the dish. The dough is supposed to cover the sides of your oven bowl as well. If you still have access dough, you can trim it, form it into a disc and bake it next to the Shakshuka on a piece of aluminum foil.
  12. Now place the Shakshuka covered with the pita in the oven and bake for 10/15 minutes or until golden brown on top. It requires some work but you will certainly steal the show when you present this hidden Shakshuka under a blanket of bread on the brunch table. It is also a hearty meal but I am sure people will be cleaning the dish with the remaining bread and even with their fingers when the bread is over, at least that’s what happened at my brunch table. Eet smakelijk! Enjoy your meal! B’teavon!

Tags: brunch, can be made ahead, delicious, entertaining, savory

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