February 24, 2023

Mini Shakshuka with Braised Lamb, Poached Quail Egg & Zhug


Recipe Provided By
Two Purple Figs
Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes

Total Time

30 minutes



Mini Shakshuka with Braised Lamb, Poached Quail Egg & Zhug in small cast iron pans


3 pounds American Lamb shoulder, braised and shredded

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced  

4 fresno peppers, seeded and diced  

2 shallots, minced  

4 garlic cloves, minced 

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon sumac

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon aleppo pepper

64 ounces plum tomatoes, canned

kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

50 quail eggs 

1 quart Zhug (recipe follows)


Zhug (makes 1 quart):

2 bunches cilantro

2 bunches parsley

3 jalapeños, seeded and diced  

6 garlic cloves  

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste



Heat large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add oil; sauté bell peppers, Fresno peppers, shallots and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, sumac, paprika and Aleppo pepper; cook until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; break up the tomatoes using a wooden spoon. Cook mixture for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until tomatoes are broken down; season with salt and pepper. Add lamb to the tomato mixture. 

For the Zhug:  In a food processor, pulse cilantro, parsley, jalapeños, garlic, caraway, cardamom and cumin. Slowly add oil until mixture is fully incorporated; season with salt and pepper.

Store in refrigerator. 

To serve: Spoon tomato mixture into mini cast iron skillets. Form wells in the tomato sauce using the bottom of a ladle. Crack quail eggs into the wells. Arrange skillets on sheet trays and bake at 375°F for 5 to 7 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked. Garnish skillets with Zhug and sprinkle with additional Aleppo pepper if desired. 

Recipe and image provided by The American Lamb Board

Chef Tips:

•When baking the mini shakshukas, cover sheet tray with foil to ensure the eggs cook evenly.

•To simplify, purchase and use American Lamb precooked shoulder meat.


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