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Matboucha is to Morocco and the Middle East what ketchup is to Americans. But OH SO MUCH MORE interesting! This compote of tomatoes, garlic and peppers can be fiery, but you get to control the heat. My husband and I like a fairly mild heat, but you do you.
Matboucha is often served as part of an appetizer platter and as a complement to couscous. However, only your imagination will limit your uses. My husband loves it on sandwiches and it often appears on our Shabbat table to be lapped up with challah. Matboucha will brighten up chicken, meat, tofu, or fish and is great with roasted vegetables and hummus. If you like hot sauce on your eggs (or matza brei), give Matboucha a try instead.
And if you love tomato achaar next time try matboucha with your Indian food!
I like to prepare a large batch and then I freeze half so it is always fresh. It will hold up in your fridge for about a week – if it lasts that long. There are many, many variations for this wonderful condiment but they mostly differ in ingredient quantities or how much you chop up your ingredients. This particular version comes from Shuk, From Market to Table. the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking by Einat Admony and Janna Gur. Sweet and smoked Paprika were added by me after reading other recipes that included it.
Plum tomatoes are easy to find and are perfect for this recipe. However, if they are not available where you live, canned tomatoes can be used. But make sure that they are best quality Italian plum tomatoes!
Yield: About 10 to 12 servings
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil (I used olive, but avocado or any other good quality neutral oil will do)
15 to 20 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into smallish dice
2 to 4 jalapeno or Fresno chiles, cored, seeded and thinly sliced (I actually used dried arbol chiles since my fresh peppers had gone bad)
12 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into quarters (OR a 28 ounce can of Italian plum tomatoes)
1.5 to 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked (or a mix) paprika
Heat oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Do NOT allow the garlic to burn!
Add in the peppers and chiles, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers have softened – about 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, season with a teaspoon of salt and 1.5 teaspoons of sweet paprika to start. You can always add more. Sauté for another minute, mixing everything through.
Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer for 1.5 to 3 hours or until the matboucha is thick, shiny and bright red. Give a stir every so often so that nothing sticks or burns. If your tomatoes are dry, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan. Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are, this could take longer. I uncovered my pan after 1.5 hours to cook off some of the liquid from a batch of particularly large, juicy tomatoes.
Taste at the end and add more salt if your tastebuds require it. Serve at room temperature.