Chakchouka with Merguez Sausages & Baked Eggs
Chakchouka is a gorgeous, delicately spiced pepper, tomato and egg stew from Tunisia. Once the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is thick and rich you crack eggs on the surface and there they poach gently to your liking. I was delighted to discover recently that one of my local butcher’s shops makes its own merguez, spicy North African lamb sausages, and I decided to add them to my stew for something more substantial. Generous hunks of bread to dip in were all we needed as an accompaniment. This serves two for supper but can easily be doubled, using a larger frying pan.
|1 tsp||caraway seeds|
|1 tsp||cumin seeds|
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|4-6||merguez sausages (or other spiced sausage)|
|2||red peppers, deseeded & sliced|
|1||yellow or green pepper, deseeded & sliced|
|1 tsp||dried chilli flakes|
|2||cloves garlic, finely sliced|
|1 x 400g||tin chopped tomatoes|
|Salt & freshly ground black pepper|
|A few sprigs||of flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, to serve|
You will need a pestle and mortar.
Toast the caraway and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn them. As soon as you smell their aroma wafting up from the pan, tip into a mortar and roughly crush with the pestle.
Add the olive oil to the same pan and fry the sausages for a few minutes on each side until golden. Remove to a plate, cut each in half and set aside.
Now add the peppers to the same pan and fry over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so until they are soft and just starting to catch a little at the edges. Add the crushed seeds, chilli flakes and sliced garlic and fry for another 30 seconds. Then pour in the tomatoes, add the sausage pieces and bring up to a simmer. Turn the heat down and allow to cook and thicken for around 15-20 minutes, by which time the sauce should be rich and have an almost jam-like consistency. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, make 2 hollows in the surface of the stew. Break an egg into each hollow and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Continue to simmer over a fairly low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking – around 10 minutes for just-set white and a runny yolk. Scatter with the parsley and serve immediately.