The crowd pleaser: Baked eggs
This is my go to brunch dish, particularly if I’m entertaining. It looks impressive and is a big bowl of goodness for everyone to get stuck in to.
Essentially this is a variation of a Shakshuka, a classic Israeli breakfast dish. Where possible, I like to avoid using the name of beloved regional dishes. They can be held so dear to some that a missing ingredient or added twist would be blasphemy – as Jamie Oliver knows all too well.
Shakshuka is an unpretentious crowd pleaser, humble and homely. This middle eastern dish is traditionally eggs poached in a rich, spiced tomato sauce with onions, peppers and chilli. The widely vegetarian dish, is made in one pan with whatever you can grab to jazz it up. Maybe some fresh coriander, parsley or crumbled feta?
Once you’ve got the basic tomato base, add some extras and make it your own. I tend to use chorizo and spinach in mine. I love the rich, smoky addition of chorizo, the spinach is mostly just for my conscious.
Makes enough for 2 as a main meal. scale up as needed but be aware of your pan size! Serve with delicious, crusty bread grilled in olive oil, fluffy couscous or a simple rocket salad.
- 1 large red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 100g high quality chorizo
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 small fresh chill (optional)
- Half a tube tomato purée
- 400ml tinned tomatoes
- A large handful of spinach
- 4 eggs
- A good handful chopped coriander
- 80g feta or soft goats cheese
- A sprinkle of nigella (black onion) seeds
1. Finely slice the onions and mince the garlic. Set a large frying or skillet pan to a medium heat and add the onions with a good glug of olive oil, garlic and a little salt. Fry until soft.
2. Slice the pepper into long, thin lengths and add to the pan with the chorizo. I like mine in small cubes so you get the flavour in every mouthful, some people like big chunks.
3. Once your veg is soft and the meat is secrete it's gorgeous dark red oil, add the cumin, paprika and chilli and fry for 3 - 4 minutes. Stir regularly and make sure it doesn't catch.
4. Add the tomato paste and coat the mixture well. Fry for a further 3 minutes and add the tinned tomatoes.
5. At this stage I like to add a little water and turn the heat up to really bring the flavours out. Let it cook down for a few minutes, then turn the hob back down to a medium heat and stir in the spinach.
6. Now for the eggs. You want the eggs to sit an equal distance (ish) away from each other in the pan. We're thinking about presentation here. So, make a well in the tomato sauce with your spoon towards the edge of the pan and crack an egg into it carefully. Repeat four times.
7. Now you need to let the eggs poach. This normally takes about 10 minutes, I'm impatient so I cover the pan with tin foil to cook them quicker. Keep an eye on it - you don't want hard eggs or a burnt bottom!
8. Once your happy - take off the heat and sprinkle the dish with the feta, coriander and nigella seeds.