1 large or 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded, ribs removed, and finely minced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons minced garlic (6–7 large cloves)
1 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes with their juice, tomatoes crushed by hand
2 packed cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (see below for substituting frozen spinach)
For The Eggs and cheese
4–5 ounces feta cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF
Measure all the spices into a small bowl: bay leaf, sugar (1 tablespoon), salt (1/2 teaspoon), paprika (2 teaspoons), pepper (1 1/2 teaspoons), caraway seeds (1 teaspoon), and turmeric (1/2 teaspoon).
Heat oil (2 tablespoons) over medium heat in a large pot or oven-ready skillet. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 8 minutes. (don’t let them brown) Add bell pepper and jalapeno, and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add tomato paste (4 tablespoons) and minced garlic (5 tablespoons) and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until tomato paste is incorporated. Add canned tomatoes and spices. stir through. Turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Mix in the chopped spinach and simmer for 5 minutes more to wilt the spinach. Remove the bay leaf. Sauce can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for several months. Reheat sauce before proceeding.
Add eggs and cheese, and bake: If you used a saucepan to cook the sauce, transfer the sauce to an oven-ready skillet or casserole. Using the back of a tablespoon, make 6-8 evenly-spaced depressions in the sauce. Crack an egg carefully into each one, keeping the yolk intact. Press the cheese cubes evenly into the sauce, around and between the eggs. Place the skillet in the middle of the oven and cook just until the egg whites turn opaque, 20-30 minutes. Keep watch every few minutes, starting at 15 minutes. Serve shakshuka hot, with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.
If using frozen spinach, defrost a 10-ounce pack of frozen chopped spinach and use a third of it. Squeeze out the excess water before using it.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in March 2013. It was updated in May 2020 with new photos and a few tweaks to the written post. Same delicious recipe!]
Keywords: Israeli shakshuka, baked eggs with tomatoes, spinach and feta, eggs baked in spicy tomato sauce with spinach and feta