Well Dined

2Feb/170

Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

I get a lot of emails with recipes from blog subscriptions, magazines, etc...  Some I delete, knowing they aren't my style.  Most I archive to make later.  Very few inspire me to make them ASAP; this recipe was one of those few.  Shakshuka is a dish of Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan origin that consists of eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

This recipe, from Bessou restaurant in NYC (via Tasting Table), puts a Japanese spin on the dish.  It was that fusion element that caught my eye.  The tomato sauce is spiced with Japanese curry powder and cumin.  Roasted kabocha squash is added, along with poached eggs.  The original is topped with miso marinated tofu - I went for miso flavored labneh, instead.  Lastly, it is sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and served with toasted Japanese milk bread.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

The tomato sauce is so fragrant and spicy (the original recipe uses harissa, too, but the curry powder was enough heat for me).  It is counterbalanced by the sweet squash, tart pomegranate seeds, cool labneh, and creamy egg yolk.  The squash and the pomegranate add varying texture, too, along with the crispy toast.  And the miso adds this funky umami note that adds to the complexity.  Dipping that perfectly crispy toast into the runny yolk and velvety tomato sauce is just so insanely satisfying.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Start by roasting the kabocha squash - seed and cut into wedges, spray or drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil in a dutch oven.  Add in garlic and ginger.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Next, add butter and flour to make a roux.  Then, add the cumin and curry powder.  You can add harissa, too, if you want.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then add the roasted squash (peeled and cut into chunks, to make it easier to eat).

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Next, add in the eggs.  The recipe used poached eggs and nestled them, already cooked, into the sauce.  I wanted to cook the eggs in the tomato sauce, but this ended up taking FOREVER.  So do what you think is best.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

You can see how dark the edges of the sauce got by the time the eggs were cooked, and how not pretty they were.  I put the pan uncovered in the oven.  If I were to do it this way again, I would make sure the sauce was still simmering when I added by eggs, cover it and cook them on the stove for a bit, then uncover it and bake it.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Anyway - top with dollops of miso labneh, pomegranate seeds, and parsley (I forgot to buy this and used celery leaves for the photo, shhhh).  Serve with toasted milk bread.  Let me tell you about Japanese milk bread.  It is soft and fluffy and sweet, and toasts with a beautiful crunchy exterior and pillowy soft interior.  It is so good.  Definitely try to find it at an Asian grocery store, if you can.

Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash
adapted from Bessou via Tasting Table
serves 4-6

1/4 medium (10 oz) kabocha squash, seeded and flesh cut into wedges
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, minced
One 1" piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Japanese curry powder
2 tbsp harissa paste, optional
2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup labneh
1/4 cup red miso
4-6 poached eggs, for serving
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Parsley leaves, for garnish
Toasted milk bread, for serving

Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.  On a sheet pan, toss the squash wedges with 2 tbsp olive oil and kosher salt.  Roast until golden brown and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the skin and cut into large chunks, then set aside.

Make the shakshuka: In a 4-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sweat until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Add the butter and melt, then stir in the flour until incorporated and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder, harissa (if using), and cumin; stirring to incorporate.

Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring often, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.  Season with kosher salt.

Stir in the roasted squash and cook until warmed through, 2 minutes more.

Add the eggs, either pre-cooked or you can attempt to cook them in the sauce.  See my comments above.

Combine the miso and labneh, and dollop onto the shakshuka.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley leaves.  Serve with toasted milk bread.

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