Chachouka – also called shakshuka – is a delicious, saucy tomato and egg dish enjoyed in North Africa and the Middle East. It’s often served for breakfast, but this version uses chickpeas and aubergine for a more substantial supper. If you’re not a fan of aubergine you can use an extra pepper.

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Total Time
1 Hour 45 Minutes
1 large or 2 medium onions, halved & sliced
2 red, orange or yellow peppers, deseeded & sliced
1 medium-large aubergine (250-350g), cut into 3cm cubes (or use another pepper)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp of cumin seeds, roughly bashed
2 tbsp of olive or vegetable oil
1 x 680-690g jar of tomato passata
1 x 400g tin (regular or black) of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 tsp of sweet smoked paprika, or curry powder
A pinch of saffron threads (optional)
A pinch of dried chilli flakes or cayenne (optional)
4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
Sea salt & black pepper
Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5.

Step 2

Put the sliced onions and peppers, and the aubergine if using, into a medium-small oven dish (about 22cm x 32cm); you don’t want one that is too large, as there needs to be a bit of depth to the sauce once it’s all in. Add the garlic, bashed cumin, oil and some salt and pepper, toss together well and roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and just starting to colour.

Step 3

Add the passata, chickpeas, sweet smoked paprika, and saffron if using, to the dish of roasted veg. Stir well. Return the dish to the oven for 15-20 minutes until everything is hot and bubbling.

Step 4

Stir the saucy mixture, taste it and add more salt, pepper and/or paprika if needed. You can add a pinch of dried chilli flakes or cayenne now, if you fancy a bit more heat.

Step 5

Make four hollows in the surface of the tomatoey veg and carefully break an egg into each one. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper, and a pinch more chilli flakes if using.

Step 6

Return the dish to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny (remembering that the eggs will continue to cook once the dish is out of the oven).

Step 7

Serve straight away with some green leaves, such as watercress, lamb’s lettuce or butterhead lettuce, on the side.

River Cottage Good Comfort by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, published by Bloomsbury on 15 September 2022 (£27.00 RRP, Hardback) Photography © Simon Wheeler.

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