Friday, December 19, 2008

Shaksouka? I Barely Even Know Ya! (Sorry.)

It’s snowing like mad outside, the office is unusually quiet, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing quietly on my cubicle computer. In a way, this is the holidays in all Big Apple workplaces: peacefully festive, with a tinge of melancholy. Or, maybe everyone’s just hung over from last night’s Christmas party. Take your pick.

Like every other place in America, it’s been slightly-to-mostly insane over here lately, what with card sending, gift shopping, tinsel hanging, funeral attending, and getting papers/projects/life in order for the ever-approaching New Year. There haven’t been many hours left for cooking, either, save for today’s dish, Shaksouka, and a botched attempt at quesadillas on Wednesday night. (On a related note: what kind of adult messes up a quesadilla? First graders are taught to make them before they’re taught to add.)

Anyway, about the Shaksouka: it’s an Israeli dish that’s tasty, incredibly inexpensive, relatively healthy, and (for all you secret six-year-olds out there) really, really fun to eat. Essentially eggs poached in a subtly spicy tomato sauce, the idea is to spoon a helping into a bowl, and then sop it up with a big hunk of thick, crusty bread. And if you can keep the sauce off your pants … bonus.

I made two alterations to the original Serious Eats recipe, which called for fresh oregano (I used 3/4 teaspoon of the dried stuff), and a 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I pulsed a can of whole tomatoes five times in mah food processor for a fresher taste). Both changes worked beautifully, and The Boyfriend and I even have a cup of leftover tomato sauce for future pasta dishes. (Note to leftovers fiends: the eggs themselves probably won't keep very well, so I'd eat them a.s.a.p.)

Oh, and last thing – I didn’t have to go shopping for any of the ingredients in this dish. They were all already in the pantry, which is the culinary equivalent of discovering a forgotten $20 bill in your pants pocket. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

P.S. Calculations are for four servings, though the picture only depicts two portions.

Shaksouka (or Shakshouka) (or Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce)
Serves 2 to 4
Adapted from Serious Eats.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes pulsed a few times
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 - 8 eggs

1) In a large skillet or saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, until onions are kind of soft, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and water. Stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Jack heat up to high. When sauce comes to a boil, drop heat back to medium-low, cover, and cook 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) Carefully crack eggs into sauce so they're evenly spaced. Re-cover skillet. Cook 5 minutes until eggs are just the way you like 'em. DO NOT STIR.

3) Carefully scoop eggs and a bunch of sauce into bowls. Serve with bread for some good times.

Note from Tara the original Serious Eats author: "Alternatively, if you are preparing up to 8 eggs and your pan isn’t wide enough to accommodate all of the eggs at once, poach them separately in water and add them to the sauce to serve."

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
252 calories, 13.9 g fat, $1.04

1 tablespoon olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.12
1 small onion: 29 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.16
3 cloves garlic: 13 calories, 0 g fat, $0.12
1 (28-ounce) can chunky crushed tomatoes (or “chef’s cut”): 254 calories, 2.2 g fat, $2.00
2 teaspoons ground cumin: negligible calories and fat, $0.03
1 teaspoon ground coriander: negligible calories and fat, $0.13
1/2 teaspoon paprika: 3 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.02
3/4 teaspoon oregano: 2 calories, 0 g fat, $0.03
1/2 cup water: negligible calories and fat, FREE
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
8 eggs: 588 calories, 39.8 g fat, $1.53
TOTAL: 1008 calories, 55.7 g fat, $4.16
PER SERVING: 252 calories, 13.9 g fat, $1.04


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