Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shakshuka (and Hauerwas)

Remember when I threatened to share with you more of my life, like what I’ve been reading (for fun, not just in school), drinking, and thinking about in addition to what I’ve been eating? Well, the time has come to talk about this book, even though I haven’t finished it yet.


Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir by Dr. Stanley Hauerwas. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know who Stanley Hauerwas is, though Time magazine named him America’s Best Theologian in 2001. I don’t know how you become the best theologian, but I am certainly not in the running for that category. Dr. Hauerwas teaches at Duke Divinity School and is close friends with the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral here, which is why Dr. Hauerwas was in Nashville this past weekend, where he preached and spoke at the adult forum.

Sometimes a book comes into your life at just the right time, and that’s how reading this book has been for me. Being in seminary myself, I appreciated his thoughts on theological education, and we also share the home state of Texas. He’s very charming, both in person and in the book. As he explained in the forum this weekend, he wrote this book in response to people asking him how he came to think the way he does. To that end, he does a lot of theologian name-dropping, which might turn off people who haven’t read or studied much theology or ethics. For example, one of the parishioners at the Cathedral I was talking to about the book admitted that she finally had to Wikipedia who Karl Barth was, since Hauerwas sure seemed to bring him up a lot. But I would certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in moral theology and ethics or who wants to be more familiar with an important living, American theologian.


What do Stanley Hauerwas and shakshuka have in common? Um, I don’t know, a funny name? And I like both of them. Other than that eggs poached in a spicy tomato broth and America’s best theologian are pretty strange topics to share a blog post.

This dish should be in every quasi-vegetarian’s back pocket, ready to be thrown together at a moment’s notice and provide a warm, satisfying meal. Jen over at Bakin’ and Eggs says this is traditionally served as a breakfast item. So to try it out, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning, and it makes a pretty satisfying breakfast as well. I served it with some warm pita bread and got the thumbs-up of approval from Joe. I’m so glad that I finally made this because it always slips my mind as something I want to try, and now it will go on my regular rotation when I don’t know what to make.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen via Bakin’ and Eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
4 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving


Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add jalapenos and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands or place in food processor and pulse a few times. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack eggs over sauce, cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5-7 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.