Poached eggs with tomato, pepper and saffron

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In North Africa, it is called shakshuka – which literally mean mixture in Arabic. Basically, it is eggs poached in a mildly spicy sauce made from slow-cooked leek, bell peppers, garlic and tomatoes, spiced up with saffron, cumin and cayenne.  It is a bit laborious, but you can prepare it well in advance and keep it in the fridge until the mobile calorie intake unit friends show up for duty. In any case, it is the perfect dish for a brunch, packed with flavours, sweet and savoury at the same time… Just serve with bread.

Note: the onions were replaced for leeks, as one of the mobile calorie intake unit  is allergic to onions.

Poached eggs with pepper, tomato and saffron (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian.)

Ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 2 large leeks
  • 2  red and 2 yellow peppers, cut into 2cm strips
  • 20g of unrefined sugar
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 6  thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
  • 30 mls chopped parsley
  • 30 mls chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
  • 6  ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • a few thread of saffron
  • 1  pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
  •  up to 250ml water
  • 8  free-range eggs
  •  salt and black pepper

Method

In a very large pan dry-roast the cumin seeds on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar and herbs and continue cooking on a high heat for 5-10 minutes to get a nice colour.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. During the cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce consistency. Remember to  taste and adjust the seasoning as you go.

Remove from the heat, remove the bay leafs and transfer to a a large bowl. Set aside. The vegetabe mix can be prepared well in advance, and kept in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, put the pepper mix in a a frying pan large enough to take a generous individual portion. Place it  on a medium heat to warm up, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with a lids.  Cook on a very gentle heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with coriander and serve

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