Today I am baking Chakchouka, a popular traditional breakfast dish in Algeria!
I’m not much a fan of most traditional US breakfast foods so when I was researching my options for Algeria and saw this savory pepper breakfast stew I was super intrigued.
For those who want to skip to a recipe, this preparation is based on Hénia’s recipe on her The Teal Tadjine blog with some modifications based on what is regionally available to me.
You will need a deep cooking pan or a pot with a lid for this dish.
LET’S DO THIS:
- About a pound of mixed color peppers (bell or cubanelle, or a combination thereof) – sliced into strips about 1/4 to 3/4 inch wide to preference and type (cut bell peppers smaller if you’re mixing type since the flesh is pretty thick)
- 1-2 (or more!) piri piri peppers (can be substituted with another hot pepper if you cannot find piri piris), sliced and de-seeded (WARNING: you may want to wear gloves for this part, especially if you wear contacts – I highly recommend rinsing the peppers cold water versus hot or warm if you’re not a fan of DiY steam pepper spray. Leaving seeds will increase heat, doing so is to your discretion but keep in mind this is breakfast)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped into big pieces/chunks (think “large” as in an heirloom size so 3-4 plum or San Marzano, 1.5 Beefsteak, etc. adjusted accordingly relative to breed)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon Turkish pepper paste (I used Italian, they’re similar enough to be comparable if you have difficulty finding Turkish paste)
- 3 or 4 eggs (depending on how many you’re feeding, this makes about 3-4 servings with one egg per person)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- About 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Harissa (or any thick hot sauce – I use CaJohn’s Black Mamba 6 which has a crazy reputation and allegedly is 6m Scoville units though personally I don’t find it to be that hot, the richness of the chocolate habaneros is an excellent flavor that isn’t exactly similar to the traditional Tunisian Harissa preparation used in Northern African cuisine, but is quite good nonetheless)
- cumin powder
- coriander powder
Prep on this was roughly 30 minutes for me, your time may vary.
Here’s what to do:
- Heat your olive oil in the pan, medium-low heat, and sauté the onion until soft and starting to brown, but not fully caramelized (about 15-20 minutes)
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, and regular peppers to the pan and continue your sauté for another 5 minutes
- Add the spicy peppers, pastes, and spices then bring to a simmer before reducing heat to low (should still be slightly bubbly/simmering)
- Simmer covered until the sauce is reduced to a thickened consistency and the peppers are nearly fully cooked (depending on the types of peppers you’ve used, this will take 10 to 20 minutes)
- Remove lid and make wells in your sauce for the number of eggs you have. Crack eggs individually into a small bowl to catch any shell fragments and pour the eggs (try not to break the yolks!) into the wells and re-cover the pot.
- Cook eggs to your desired consistency – the traditional prep is cooked white, runny yolk poached (about 8-10 minutes cook time) but some people prefer less or more so do what you want.
That’s it! The total time for me, from beginning of prep to plating was roughly 1 hour, 55 minutes (11:00 to 12:55).