I pulled the last of my summer vegetables this weekend, signaling (for me) the official end of summer. Kale, chard, carrots, ginger, parsley, lovage, rosemary, thyme, green onions, leeks, they’re still plugging happily along, but the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, dill, basil, and other summer staples have pooped out for the season.
But along with wistful pulling and a “goodbye” to my beloved heirloom tomatoes, I also planted next year’s garlic and shallots, renewing the cycle of the four-season garden. As the leaves turn and the grass goes dormant, and the chill of late October takes hold, I make a welcome return to hot foods cooked on the stove. Ah, autumn comfort food, I do love thee.
Shakshuka — poached eggs in tomato sauce, one of my favorite light summer meals — transitions easily to a hearty fall dinner with the help of the plucky chickpea, flavorful sausage (veggie or otherwise — it’s all good), and smoky, aromatic spices.
Honestly, I love poached eggs and tomatoes a lot, so there’s no way I could relegate shakshuka to summer only. Poached eggs on chickpea shakshuka is a fabulous weeknight-easy meal. Serve with toasty bread and enjoy the approaching season of warm and cozy comfort food.
- 14 to 16 ounces whole, fresh tomatoes, cored and peeled (or 1 can crushed tomatoes, 14 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small sweet red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, diced
- 5 breakfast sausage links (or veggie substitute), sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces cooked chickpeas (a little more than 1/2 of a 15 oz can)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 ounces feta or goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 eggs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If using fresh tomatoes, chop them roughly and place them and their juices in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to crush the tomatoes into a rough sauce. Set aside. (If using canned, continue to the next step.)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, peppers, chili peppers, and sausage pieces and saute, uncovered, until the onions are soft and the sausage is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and chickpeas, and cook for another minute. Scoot everything to the side and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in one spot of the cleared area. Sprinkle the paprika, kosher salt, and cumin over the oil, and stir to create a paste. Mix in with the chickpeas and vegetables.
- Add the tomatoes, and turn heat to medium-high, and heat until nice and bubbly. Cook for 10 minutes to thicken, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Crumble half of the goat cheese over the skillet. Crack one egg into each quadrant of the pan. Cover with the lid and cook until the egg whites set. (Time will vary, about 5 to 10 minutes.)
- Crumble the remaining cheese over the dish, along with the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.