Shakshuka (aka shakshouka or chakchouka) is a spicy tomato stew that features a garnish of cooked eggs.
The dish probably originated in North Africa. Today, versions of it are found throughout the Mediterranean region. The basics of the dish remain the same no matter where it’s found, but the end flavor can vary.
We decided to put our own Creole-spiced spin on shakshuka, giving it a New Orleans vibe. Jazzy, in other words.
This dish always features tomato, and usually includes onion and bell peppers (green peppers are typical, though we’re using red ones in this recipe). Typically, the eggs are cracked into the simmering tomatoes and gently poached.
Shakshuka is often served as a vegetarian dish, though it’s not uncommon to see versions with meat (particularly ground beef or lamb, or maybe spicy sausage). Our recipe for Moroccan Kefta and Tomato Tagine is actually a form of shakshuka.
Our version of this dish takes the flavor in a New World direction. We use spicy Louisiana-style andouille sausage and Cajun/Creole seasoning to zip up the flavor (see Notes).
Because this recipe contains eggs, many people think of it as a breakfast dish. But we often eat breakfast for dinner, so it works as an evening meal for us.
Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds 20 minutes or so.
This dish yields 4 servings. We like to serve it with crusty bread, preferably toasted (garlic toast is wonderful).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 to 8 ounces andouille sausage, thinly sliced (may substitute another spicy sausage like kielbasa; see Notes)
- 1 medium onion, diced or thinly sliced
- 1 medium or small bell pepper, diced (we prefer red bell pepper for this dish, but any color works)
- 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
- salt to taste (1 teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced (to taste)
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (can substitute whole tomatoes; see Notes)
- 2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning (we make our own; see Notes)
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish (cilantro works too)
- Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat. When it’s hot, add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated (about 15 seconds – it’ll shimmer), add the andouille slices. Sauté the andouille on each side until brown (this will take several minutes).
- Remove the andouille slices and drain them on a paper towel. Add more olive oil to the pan if needed, then add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Season with salt to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion is just translucent.
- Add the chopped garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, the Cajun/Creole seasoning, and the cooked andouille slices. Stir to combine, then simmer for 10 minutes (up to 20, if you prefer).
- Taste the tomato sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Using a large spoon, make a depression or well in the tomato sauce towards one edge of the pan. Break an egg directly into the depression. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. You may want to spoon a bit of sauce over the eggs to cover them (we usually don’t do this). Cover the pan, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until the egg whites are set and the yolk is still a bit runny (5 minutes or so; if you want the egg yolks totally cooked, 10 minutes).
- Sprinkle parsley on top and dish up. We like to serve shakshuka with some crusty bread. And we put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who want a spicier dish.
- You can use commercial Cajun/Creole seasoning in this dish, but it’s often quite salty. So we make our own: Combine 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme (to taste), 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne (to taste), 1 teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon celery seed. Mix thoroughly. This makes more than you need for this recipe – reserve the rest for another use.
- So, what’s the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine? “Creole” refers to the original European settlers of Louisiana, particularly those from France and Spain. Cajuns are descendants of the people who moved to Louisiana from French-speaking Acadia (located in what are now the Canadian Maritimes).
- In general, Cajun food tends to be more rustic, while Creole food is more European-influenced. Creole dishes tend to be fancier – one reason they’re so common on New Orleans restaurant menus.
- Tomatoes are much more common in Creole than in Cajun dishes. Because of the tomatoes, we call this dish “Creole-spiced.”
- Andouille from Louisiana is a smoked, spicy, garlic-infused sausage made from pork. Several national brands of andouille are available in the U.S. (Aidells is probably the best that we’ve tasted), but none are as good as the andouille sausage found in Louisiana.
- Can’t find good andouille? Another spicy smoked sausage (like kielbasa) would work well.
- BTW, French andouille is quite different from that produced in Louisiana, and would not be a good substitute in this dish.
- We often make this dish with crushed tomatoes, but whole tomatoes create a slightly lighter sauce. To make this dish with whole tomatoes, just crush them in your hands when adding them to the frying pan (or you can whirl them very briefly in a blender). We don’t recommend using diced tomatoes – the cooking time for this dish is so brief that they won’t break down and form a sauce.
- This is a pretty hefty dish, so we think 1 egg per person is sufficient. But feel free to double the number of eggs if you prefer to serve 2 per person.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Tasty!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Nice riff on a legendary dish.”
“Yup,” I said. “Music to my palate. Glad I jazzed this up.”
“So you’ll be strutting your funky stuff for a while, I suppose,” said Mrs K R.
“Mais oui,” I said “I’m all shuka up.”
“That note was off key,” said Mrs K R. “Maybe you should tune your tongue.”
Wop bop a loo bop. Bam.
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