In the Bender Kitchen: Chef Jay Hajj and owner of Mike’s City Diner in Boston

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Chef and owner of Mike’s City Diner, Jay Hajj, shares his recipe of shakshuka.

This recipe is a tribute to his best buddy Sarah, and her great family that brings him back to his childhood memory.

Hajj has cooked for Bill Clinton and Guy Fieri. His food has been featured numerous times on Food Network programs such as Diners, Drive-Ins, and DivesGuy’s Big Bite and Guy’s Grocery Games.

Hajj is author of the new cookbook, “Beirut to Boston,” which hits stores on May 23rd.  All proceeds from the cookbook will go to Sacred Heart.



jayhajjfood In the Bender Kitchen: Chef Jay Hajj and owner of Mike’s City Diner in Boston
Jay Hajj’s “Best Buddy’s” Shakshuka


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can high-quality whole peeled tomatoes with liquid
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet.
2. Add the onion, salt and black pepper and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
4. Add the red pepper and sauté 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion and pepper are very soft.
5. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic turns fragrant, about 2 minutes.
6. Add the tomato paste, cumin, Aleppo pepper, paprika and crushed red pepper and mix well.
7. Add the canned tomatoes with juice and increase the heat to medium-high.
8. Stir well while gently breaking up the whole tomatoes with wooden spoon.
9. Reduce until the tomato thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
10. Turn off the heat.
11. Stir in 1⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese.
12. Gently crack the eggs on top of the mixture, evenly spaced.
13. Place the entire skillet in a preheated oven for 5 minutes for soft eggs or until eggs are cooked through as desired.
14. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of feta cheese and cilantro.
15. Scoop onto a dinner plate or bowl and serve with your favorite crusty bread.

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