Shakshuka Celine

Nobody seems to know where shakshuka originated, but it is a common dish from Tunisia to the Lebanon. In Israel it is a popular kosher breakfast dish, usually served with eggs but without meat. To make the Israeli version, simply omit the meat, add another onion and break the eggs into it for the last seven or eight minutes of cooking and cook until the whites are firm. Everybody, I suspect, has their own secret recipe and the number of variations is enormous, and this one is my take on a meal that we had in the Café Celine in Darby Street in central Auckland over Christmas in 2014. It was delicious, and I suspect that the chef used shredded meat cooked on and shaved off the rotisserie, but I make do with mince.

2 tsp paprika.
2 tsp cumin.
2 tsp sumac.
¼ tsp white pepper.
300g minced lamb.
1 medium onion, peeled and diced.
1 large red capsicum, seeded, and chopped.
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
¼ cup olive oil.
1 tsp whole caraway seeds.
¼ cup tomato paste
1 410g can diced tomatoes.
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp honey.
Salt to taste.
Squeeze of lemon.
Chopped fresh parsley and/or coriander for garnish.

Mix the spices together and mix them thoroughly into the meat. Place in sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Prepare the vegetables, place in a sealed container and keep in a cool place until ready to start cooking. If preparing for breakfast, this can be done the night before.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a hot flame and add the caraway seeds. When they pop, all the meat and brown all over, then add the onion mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and everything is well mixed together. Add the tomato paste, tomato pulp, bay leaf, honey and salt, and stir through.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for thirty minutes. Stir a couple of times during this period. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture, sprinkle with parsley/coriander and serve immediately with rice and salad on the side.

Serves: 2 – 3.

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