Eggplant Shakshuka

Serving everyone from the same big bowl, tearing bread from a fresh loaf, passing a dish and serving each other: Shakshuka is a perfect communal meal. The delicate nature of the meal requires it be served in the pot it was cooked in, and it goes perfectly with rip-able breads like challah and baguette. Shakshuka has origins in North Africa and Israel -- countless versions from all over the Middle East showcase its versatility. Serve this with a bottle of wine and some good bread (challah, pita, or baguette are all wonderful) and share everything.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 eggplant diced into half inch cubes
2 bell red or orange bell peppers
8 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons pimenton de la vera (or any paprika)
Salt and black pepper
6 eggs
Soft goat cheese or crumbled feta
Chopped parsley to garnish

Heat a large, deep skillet on medium. Add the olive oil, then the onion, eggplant and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent and the eggplant begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic and tomatoes. Stir occasionally for a minute or so, and add the spices, then cover the pot with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, break the eggs into a bowl, one by one, making sure not to break the yolks (if you're worried about it, break the eggs into a small bowl or ramekin and then transition them into a larger bowl). Slice the goat cheese (or crumble the feta), and chop the parsley.

After 10 minutes of cooking the vegetables check on them: taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. The vegetables should be soft, and the shakshuka should be thick and stew-y.

Turn down the heat to low, add the eggs and cheese so that they're sitting on the top (it's fine if one or two slip into the stew or settle in), and cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes. If the eggs aren't cooked after two minutes, remove them from the heat and cover the pot -- the residual heat and the steam from adding the lid will finish the job. Ideally, the eggs will be sunny side up and the yolks will run when you serve the dish.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve in the pot, with a large spoon for moving the shakshuka from the skillet to plates. Serve with fresh bread for dipping and a good wine -- red or white.

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