Megan Gordon's take on shakshuka in her new cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, isn't particularly traditional. There are some Anaheim chiles in there for heat, sure, and the gently poached eggs and tomato sauce meld together into a wonderfully comforting rich stew. Yet Gordon bulks up the dish with chewy wheat berries and chopped kale for color and texture. Instead of a bowl of liquid-y tomato sauce ready for pita sopping, Gordon's dish is thicker, almost fork-friendly, and looks more like ratatouille than what I usually expect. No matter the appearance, it's darn tasty and makes a super hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Why I picked this recipe: I'd never thought to add grains to shakshuka, and it sounded like a great way make a heartier dish.
What worked: I appreciated the chewy texture of the wheat berries in the dish, and loved the gentle level of spice from the Anaheims. Don't skip the feta on top, either!
What didn't: To cook the eggs evenly, I found that I needed to rotate the pan during the poaching time. If you have a larger burner, you may not have this problem.
Suggested tweaks: If you want a little more subtlety with the added greens, you can use spinach in place of the kale. A dab or two of harissa would also not be out of place here.
Reprinted with permission from Whole Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:about 1 hour, plus time to cook the wheat berries
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup / 60 g diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 2 Anaheim chiles, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce / 800 g) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup / 85 g cooked wheat berries (see note)
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups / 125 g)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup / 45 g crumbled feta cheese
- Flaky salt
- Red pepper flakes
In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and sauté until just soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chiles and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue sautéing for 1 minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked wheat berries, capers, cumin, paprika, lemon zest, and kosher salt and stir well to combine. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat until the sauce starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt as desired.
Fold in the kale and simmer until it begins to soften into the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to make 6 little wells in the sauce for the eggs to nestle into. The skillet will be relatively full at this point, so just do your best. Crack the eggs into the wells and cover the skillet. Cook over low heat until the whites are firm but the yolks remain a touch runny, 6 to 8 minutes. Top with the crumbled feta.
Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with flaky salt and red pepper flakes, and drizzle with a dash of olive oil. While I find this best the day it’s made, you can allow leftovers to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Note: To cook the wheat berries, bring 1 cup (170 g) wheat berries and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Don't peek or stir—it will disrupt the steaming of the grains. Simmer until tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Cooking time can vary widely depending on the type of wheat berries, so check the package.