Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs and they supply all essential amino acids for humans, thus making them a complete protein source.
Eggs also contain other vitamins and minerals including vitamin A (retinol) Vitamin B2(Riboflavin,) Vitamin B9 (folic acid,) Vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Whilst found in lower quantities than in red meats, eggs may also be a source of CoQ10 (depending on how they are prepared.) The egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D.
All of the egg’s vitamins A, D and E, are in the egg yolk, as is just under half the protein content and most of the other nutrients. The egg yolk also contains all of the choline, which is an important nutrient for development of the brain. This makes it particularly important for women who are planning on becoming pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding as it contributes to healthy foetal brain development.
Unsurprisingly, the diet of the laying hens can greatly affect the nutritional quality of the eggs that they produce. Pasture raised & truly free range hens which forage largely for their own food also tend to produce eggs with higher nutritional quality than standard factory and cage raised eggs.
So when choosing your eggs, organic and truly free range is best. Your local farmers market is also a great place to buy your eggs as you can ask the seller about the conditions of his or her chickens. If you have your own chickens- lucky you!
Shakshouka – Moroccan Egg Tagine
Adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi
Tagine’s are wonderful for cooking slow cooked stews and curries but they can also makes this delicious breakfast (or lunch or dinner) dish.
Shakshouka, meaning ‘all mixed up,’ is a staple in many North African and Middle Eastern countries.
For the basic recipe, the eggs are cooked in onion, tomatoes, peppers and spices such as cumin and paprika. Depending on who is making it, Shakshouka may also contain lamb mince, hot green chilli or spicy sausage. The dish is usually both cooked in & served out of a cast iron pan but it also works really well in a tagine, which is how I made it. This way, you can just make 1 big dish rather than a few smaller pans.
- 4-6 eggs, free range and organic if possible. (depending on the size of your pan.)
- 1 small red chili, chopped
- 1/2 small Spanish onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 medium red capsicum, sliced into small strips
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh (or use tomato passata)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Moroccan spices- use what you have. (Combination of paprika, cumin, coriander seeds & cayenne pepper)
- Pinch salt
- Fresh parsley & coriander, roughly chopped
- Olive oil and dukkah to drizzle/sprinkle on top
- 2-3 rashes of bacon, diced
- 1 small spicy sausage chopped
- 1 cup cooked chicken or any other leftover meat.
- 200g minced meat
- Using either your tagine or a fry pan with a lid, brown off the bacon, sausage or mince. Once cooked through, pour into a small bowl. If you are using some leftover meat that has been cooked, omit this step.
- Sauté onion, capsicum and chilli in some oil in your pan until fragrant then add a pinch of salt. Usually 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic & moroccan spices and stir through.
- Add your protein (sausage, bacon, chicken or mince) along with the tomatoes and stir through.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring a few times.
- With a spoon, make 4-6 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle the egg yolk with a little salt and pepper, cover with the hood and cook on low heat until the egg whites settle and firm but the egg yolks stay slightly gooey. Do this to your liking- I prefer my yolks more well cooked whilst my husband likes his really soft. Take care not to overcook though as they will continue to cook after you remove the pan from the heat. .
- Serve eggs in the tagine sprinkled with some fresh parsley and coriander, a little drizzle of olive or avocado oil and some dukkah spices.
Total time: prep and coking 25-30 minutes.
Number of servings: 2-4 (depending on how hungry you are!)