Brunch Yourself with Reens Greensified Shakshuka

There are few things more enjoyable in NYC than (boozy) brunch with friends and loved ones. The omelettes, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, etc. - how could you go wrong? However, brunch often involves long lines, sometimes days wasted, and perhaps more calories than you intended to consume. 

Don't get me wrong, I am almost always pro-brunch. In the dead of winter, though, you can often find me in my kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to recreate some of my favorite brunch dishes to enjoy in the warmth of my own home. Not only do I avoid the frigid temperatures, but I save a little money and can control the ingredients. 

I don't know if Shakshuka is trending right now or what, but I've been seeing a lot of recipes lately for it, and I actually had a dream about making it the other night. So then I did. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern tomato and egg dish often enjoyed in the winter. It's warming, spicy and delicious. The eggs make for a wonderful source of protein to start the day, and the tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent cell damage. I added some kale to the mix, of course, for a little extra green. You also only need one skillet, which is a win in my old Brooklyn apartment world of no dishwasher (besides my husband). So here's a mashup recipe that I created, inspired by the lovely people at Green Kitchen Stories, and the New York Times.

Reens Greensified Shakshuka

Serves 2-4 (depends on hunger levels)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow, but any color would do)
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2-14.5 oz (or 1-28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 eggs, depending on your skillet size (I used 5)
  • cilantro, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil/ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeno. Add cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and combine until everything is evenly coated. Continue to cook 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, kale, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently crack your eggs evenly into the skillet over the sauce. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper.
  6. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until eggs are set.*
  7. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy! You can serve this with warm whole grain pita, or with avocado toast (which is what I did).

*Note: If you are not using cast iron, please make sure your skillet is oven safe. If not, you do not need to bake your eggs - you can simply cover the skillet you are using with a lid until the egg whites set.

Next time, I will invite some friends over and perhaps we'll also share some bottomless grapefruit mimosas. 

What are your favorite brunches to make at home?