April 12, 2023

Mini Shakshuka with Braised Lamb, Poached Quail Egg & Zhug




Marinated American lamb chops with rosemary & garlic on a plate


  • 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. 

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.

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.
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