Black Bean Shakshuka

Straight off let’s be clear that this is my version of a Shakshuka – the fact that it has a spiced tomato sauce with eggs poached in it leads me to use the name but it may not have full North African credentials.  That said it is properly delicious and is a regular chez May.  You probably have the ingredients to hand but if not  Shakshuka is happy to be flexible and adapt to your store cupboard.  Most of the year I will use a tin of good tomatoes but in the summer a pile of just too soft tomatoes are ideal.  I’m as happy with chopped coriander or parsley strewn over the top so use what you have or both.  This is an absolute favourite of my son but if he isn’t around I will add some spinach just before the eggs to wilt in the heat of the tomatoes.

The black beans were an addition when I was short of bread to toast so wanted to bulk up the Shakshuka a bit.  We liked this version so much that they are now a permanent addition, they give a little extra texture which I find most welcome – great for adding some fibre to your diet especially if you are off the bread for any reason.   Cook one of two eggs per person as you please, I find one is enough for me but the lads in the house welcome two.  As ever with my recipes there is room for manoeuvre, both as mentioned above but also in the level of spicing.  Listed below are the spices I use but do add extra spice by way of chopped fresh chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes if that suits. Should I have run out of harissa I will just up the amount of paprika and cumin and will certainly add chilli in this instance.

Black Bean Shakshuka 

I tablespoon oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon harissa

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 tin tomatoes (I prefer whole to chopped but whatever you have)

1 tin black beans, drained

Eggs, as many as you want to use, see introduction

A handful of chopped coriander or parsley or a combination of both

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan for which you have a lid (or you can use a baking sheet instead of a lid).  Cook the onion for 10 minutes or so until soft and translucent but not coloured.  Add the garlic and all the spices along with the tomato puree.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add the tinned tomatoes along with a slosh of water to rinse the can.  Finally add the beans along with a good sprinkle of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes to bring it all together then make as many dips in the sauce as you have eggs.  Crack the eggs into the dips and put the lid on the pan whilst the eggs cook.  When the whites are set remove from the heat, cautiously check the seasoning of the sauce – add some salt and pepper to the eggs but you decide if the sauce needs any more.  Strew over the chopped herbs of your choice and serve on toast if you like.  Serves  3-4 and is good for breakfast, lunch or supper.

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