Shakshuka with Lamb Merguez

I’ve been to Beat Hotel in Harvard Sq for brunch a few times recently and I can’t get enough of the eggs shakshuka dish. It’s hard to get me to order something other than eggs benedict (they have one with short rib that is really awesome too) when I go out to breakfast, but this is good enough to do that. It’s a North African dish that involves eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce, and what makes their version awesome is the soft polenta and lamb merguez. I of course had to make my version of this dish at home, and it came out awesome! I made a homemade merguez patty to go with it, and I baked the whole thing in an individual dish.
To make the sausage, I first made a paste that was like a crazy concentrated harissa. This is some cumin, chiles, paprika, coriander, and fennel, then the garlic goes in. A roasted red pepper completes the paste. Mix the paste into a pound of ground lamb and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day start the sauce. Onion, pepper, paprika, cumin. Then tomatoes. Polenta is in first, then some sauce on top. Crack your eggs in there and get this thing into the oven. The sausage. Patties formed and in the pan. Once the eggs set up, pop a sausage patty and some chopped spinach on top and dig in. The yolks are still runny and the whites are tender. The sauce and sausage are nicely spiced but balanced. And that polenta at the bottom is so creamy! Serve it with a bloody mary of course. Had to get a shot with that polenta treasure uncovered.

Shakshuka with Lamb Merguez

For:  4 People

  • Sausage
  • 1 Pound Ground Lamb
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Fennel
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Chiles (ripped and broken, seeds removed)
  • 1 Pinch Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Sundried Tomato Bits
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • Salt
  • Polenta
  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Salt
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 Onion (diced)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (large dice)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomato
  • 8 Eggs
  • Chopped Spinach

Instructions

    Sausage
    1. Roast the red pepper until blackened. Allow to rest and then remove the peel.
    2. Toast the spices. Crush in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, add the garlic and roasted pepper and blend or pound into a paste.
    3. Mix the paste with the lamb. Refrigerate overnight.
    Polenta
    1. Bring the liquids to a simmer. Whisk in the cornmeal. Cook stirring often for 40 minutes.
    Sauce
    1. Cook the onion in some oil for about 10 minutes to lightly brown. Add the pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir. Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat
    Build the bowls
    1. Add a scoop of the polenta first, then some of the sauce. Crack 2 eggs into each baking dish. Bake at 350 until the whites have set but the yolks are still soft. (about 15 minutes if the sauce is nice and hot already)
    Finish the sausage and eat
    1. Form patties out of the sausage and cook in a frying pan to brown on both sides. Remove the shakshuka from the oven, pop a sausage on there, and eat!