Beef Ragù Shakshuka – a meaty, Italian twist to the old, North African vegetarian favourite. The traditional Shakshuka is a semi hearty, yet remarkably light, breakfast dish of eggs poached in a thick tomato based sauce. It hails from North Africa, but has long been an extremely popular dish all around the Middle East.
It was a Sunday morning, after a huge dinner party. With about 3 dozen wine, cocktail and shot glasses yet to be washed up (I never put them in the dishwasher!), the last thing on my mind, was cooking lunch for the family. Then I remembered that we had quite a bit of Ragù Napoletano, or Neapolitan Ragù, left over from the night before.
Cue lightbulb moment!
I heated it up, dropped some eggs in and some pinches of mozzarella and hey presto, a very, very satisfying Sunday lunch. Along with some bread, just what the doctor ordered after a late, late night!
What is Ragù?
In Italian cooking, ragù is a meat based sauce, thick and can be somewhat chunky. Having said that, you’ll also find seafood and vegetable ones. The 2 most famous ragù are the Bolognese (from Bologna) and the Neapolitan (from Naples), the latter is a sauce that takes about 6 hours to make!
Maybe a whole post is needed on the subject of Italian ragù and sugo.
Beef Ragù Shakshuka Recipe
As mentioned, it started life as the Neapolitan ragù. However, it seemed a bit mad to cook a sauce for 6 hours to make a shakshuka. So, I went for a simple minced beef ragù, along the lines of the bolognese, but with a little more tomatoes. So that the total cooking time could be cut right down to about 40 minutes or so.
Then, out of respect for the culture that created shakshuka, I did away with the alcohol and the pancetta. The rest of the recipe is a combination of the traditional shakshuka and a bolognese (with lots of tomatoes).
Despite the fact that in the Middle East and North Africa, lamb is the meat of choice, I have a tendency to use beef in many of my Middle Eastern recipes, instead of lamb. Because I just love beef more than I do lamb. But feel free to use minced lamb, if you prefer.
Make Ahead Shakshuka/Can Shakshuka be Reheated?
If you want to make this Beef Ragù shakshuka ahead, do it right up to the point before you add the eggs. Then just before serving, heat it up to simmering, then continue with step 6 in the recipe below, which is adding the eggs.
What to Serve with Shakshuka?
Bread. Lots and lots of bread! In whatever form. Baguette, flatbread, ciabatta, it’s all good!
2 More Shakshuka Recipes here on LinsFood!
More Italian Recipes and Middle Eastern Recipes on LinsFood
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Beef Ragù Shakshuka (a hearty Italian twist to a Middle Eastern Favourite)
The Beef Ragù
- 2 tbsp EV olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 red capsicum bell pepper (or a mix of colours)
- 1 stalk celery
- 250 g lean minced beef
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 800 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp white sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
The Eggs and Topping
- 6 eggs
- cheese of your choice feta, mozzarella, cheddar
- small handful parsley chopped
The Beef Ragù
- Chop up the onion, carrot and celery to a small dice, fairly equal size to make our soffrito.
- Chop up the capsicum (bell pepper) to about an inch (2.5cm) square.
- Heat the olive oil on medium-low heat, in a medium-sized frying pan or shallow casserole dish and fry the soffrito for 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Increase the heat to high and add the beef. Break it up and stir vigorously to brown, for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium if the soffrito starts to burn.
- Add the cumin and paprika. Stir it all around for another 30 seconds. Don’t worry if it’s dry.
- Add the capsicum (bell pepper), chopped tomatoes, the sundried tomato paste, the salt and the sugar. Increase the heat, stir, and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat right down, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time.
- At the end of the 30 minutes, check seasoning, add more salt if you need it, and some freshly ground black pepper. Give the shakshuka base a good stir, then it’s time to drop the eggs in.
Adding the Eggs and Finishing
- Make a small well in the beef ragù, and add the eggs in, one at a time, spacing them out, with one egg in the middle, and the other 5 all around. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until they are just set. The time will depend on how you like your eggs. I like the whites set but the yolk, still very runny, so 5 minutes is as long as I cook it at this stage.
- When you are happy with the eggs, top it with plenty of freshly ground black pepper, some freshly chopped parsley and cheese, if you’re using it. Take it to the table and serve immediately.