So, I don’t think it can be denied that I have made the effort to get into the Christmas spirit around here. There have been mulled wine brownies. A Christmas cheat sheet. And even a heroic effort to eat all the world’s mince pies. But you know what? Not everything we eat at this time of year is mulled or sprinkled with glitter. So here is a completely seasonally inappropriate recipe that’s also completely delicious. I’ve called this Menemen because it sounds more exciting than ‘very liberal interpretation of a Turkish egg and pepper dish’, but this isn’t really Menemen in any true sense of the word. It’s also part Shakshuka, and part random invention. It’s an ideal brunch solution though, and very very tasty.
I have been making some variation on this for years, but only thought to put it on the blog when my brother asked me for the recipe after I made it at a family gathering a couple of months ago. When my brother asks for the recipe for something then I know it must have been a winner.
This is, of course, the sort of thing you can be fairly liberal with. If you have other vegetables you’d like to toss in – sliced courgettes, say, or a handful of spinach – then do. You can skip the bread if you don’t fancy it, although I promise you it’s excellent for mopping up all those tasty juices. And obviously, if you’re catering for vegetarians then you can pass on the chorizo. It will still be lovely either way.
This will serve 2-3 people, but it’s easy to scale up by adding more eggs. It’s an excellent thing to plonk down in the middle of a table so that people can help themselves.
Add chilli flakes (or skip them) according to your tolerance for spicy food. I like to make this with a good kick, but appreciate that not everyone will feel the same.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion
3 red or orange peppers
3 cloves garlic
1 heaped tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp paprika
chilli flakes, to taste
2 tins or cartons of chopped tomatoes
4 or 5 medium eggs
handful of pistachios
bunch of fresh parsley
bread, to serve
- Gently heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan while you slice a red onion. Toss the onion in and cook on a medium heat to soften. Meanwhile, slice your peppers, and add them to the onion once it’s begun to soften. Cut your chorizo into small coins or half moons, turn up the heat, and add it to the pan. After a minute or two, when the chorizo has started to release its oil and is smelling amazing, crush your garlic. Add your garlic to the pan, stir, and cook for a minute. Add your cumin, paprika, and chilli flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more.
- Add your chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir, and put them on a medium heat. Let the mixture bubble away form around ten minutes. Taste your tomato base, and season as needed.
- Use a wooden spoon to make four or five (depending on how many eggs you are using) wells in the tomato base. Crack an egg into each, and turn the heat down to low. Pop a lid on the pan. The eggs will now poach in the tomato sauce.
- Crumble your feta, roughly chop your pistachios, and chop your parsley. After about five or six minutes, your eggs should be ready – you want the white cooked, but the yolk runny. Sprinkle your feta, pistachios, and parsley over the pan. Bring it all to the table and serve directly from the pan, with bread.