In The Kitchen

Brunch Special: Shakshuka and Homemade Pita

Whether it’s a big Mother’s Day celebration or a lazy weekend affair, brunch should be relaxing and stress-free.  That’s why I love dishes like Shakshuka that can be prepped ahead of time and can be finished with very little effort.  Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in a spiced tomato sauce, and it’s also known as Sunken Eggs and Eggs in Purgatory.  Another reason I love this dish, is because of  the possibilities of variations, from an Italian version with pesto and fresh basil to a Mexican version with a spicy salsa and cilantro.  Whatever version you make, serve it with baguette, tortillas, or freshly made pitas to sop up all that saucy goodness. – Chef Casto Unson, New School of Cooking

Brunch Special: Shakshuka and Homemade Pita


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
1 can whole tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, optional
6 large eggs
cilantro and mint, for garnish

Pita Bread
1 cup lukewarm water (105-110F)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion and bell pepper until soft. Add garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in feta, if using, and season to taste. Sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Using a spoon, create nests in the sauce and crack eggs one at a time. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with bread.

Pita Bread
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Knead for 5-10 minutes by hand (or on low speed in a kitchenaid with the dough hook) until smooth and elastic, only adding extra flour if extremely sticky. Form the dough into a smooth ball, then place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch down the dough, then portion into 6 even pieces and form each piece into a ball. Use flour on the counter to prevent from sticking. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each piece into a circle ¼ inch thick, then cover with a towel and proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile place a baking stone or large sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 500F.
Once proofed, pick up each pita and place on the stone or pan top side down, being careful not to overcrowd the stone or pan. Immediately close the oven door and bake until puffed and slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes.


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