Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tomato-Pepper Stew with Poached Eggs and Harissa
This recipe was featured in a "Travel Israel" section of the May, 2008 issue of Food & Wine magazine. Tomato-Pepper Stew with Poached Eggs and Harissa intrigued my by all the ingredients in the title alone! Anything with tomatoes is okay in my book. Also, while I sometimes enjoy poached eggs when dining out, I have never made them before. Poaching them in a tomato-pepper sauce just sounds amazing, doesn't it?
I was first exposed to harissa (a Tunisian red-chile-pepper paste) last year when I made Harissa-Roasted Turkey Breast from Marcus Samuelsson's The Soul of a New Cuisine. That book focuses on African food so I found it interesting that this recipe highlighting food from Israel used the same unique ingredient. Lucky for me I can now find a jar of harissa at my local Whole Foods and I do not need to make it from scratch like I did last time.
I am really happy that I tried this one out! It is super flavorful and actually quite easy to make. The harissa makes it pretty spicy so if heat is not your thing then you might want to cut it in half. I noticed that if you got a bit of egg with the tomato mixture the creaminess of the egg balances the heat. I ate this with naan and when I took a bite of that it absorbed the rest of the heat. So it's not that bad if you balance it well, but it can catch you off guard if you just take a big mouthful of tomatoes!
This is a recipe that I made for dinner but I ended up with a bunch left over and found out it works really well for breakfast too. As suggested in the recipe, I saved have of the tomato mixture for use on another day and only poached three of the eggs. Considering that you can eat this for any mean and is uses 6 eggs, this is one recipe that can stretch far.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the paprika and coriander and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the harissa and tomato paste and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer over low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes, Stir in the parsley and cilantro and season with salt.
Raise the heat to moderate. One by one, break the eggs into a cup and add them to the simmering sauce. Poach the eggs until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes. Season the eggs with salt. Transfer the eggs to bowls along with some of the sauce. Serve with warmed pitas or crusty bread.
Make ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat before proceeding.