I had a high energy day yesterday. I guess sometimes it does happen!
I used all that excess energy to make a super fussy artisan bread loaf that was totally worth the effort. The recipe is here: The Power of the Poolish. (With many thanks to Auntie Leila for the link.)
It felt like I had to do something to the bread dough every five minutes or so. It totally ate into my afternoon nap. That’s so not cool. I was afraid I’d killed it when I dumped it onto the pizza stone and it was a sad flat blob. My attempt to score the top was pathetic because I don’t have a sharp enough knife. But it bounced back in the oven something lovely. And oh the crust was perfect and the crumb was light and airy and yet substantial enough to really hold the weight of a soupy, thick chakchouka.
Chakchouka. Have I explained to you the wonders of chakchouka? I thought I’d surely posted the recipe before; but I couldn’t find it on our cooking blog. Must remedy that situation soon.
Here’s a quick run-down, though.
First, you chop up some onions and get a variety of peppers, which you de-seed and cut into strips. Sautee the onions and sweet peppers in some olive oil.
Next, you add some grated tomato and the hot peppers. The best is when you actually get some fresh tomato and grate it. I didn’t have fresh tomatoes so I used canned ground tomato. It was still pretty good.
Then you stir in some salt and cayenne. Did I mention this is spicy? Once I made a dish of chakchouka even I could hardly eat. My sister and I refer to it still as the nuclear chakchouka. But most of the time it’s edible. At least if you’re from Texas.
Then you crack some eggs on top and poach them in the sauce. (Your best bet it to crack them into a little bowl and slide them on one at a time.)
I forgot to take a picture of it before the sauce went on top of the eggs. I spooned the sauce on top of the eggs as they cooked.
And that’s chakchouka. If you want to be traditional, you can eat it right out of the pan. Just dip your bread in and enjoy. Or you can be American and spoon it onto your plate. It’s all good.
This is the first time I’ve made my own bread to go with it. Usually I just pick up a loaf of something crusty at the supermarket. Now I may be spoiled for doing that, though. Which is a shame because chakchouka is a really quick and easy dinner. Great for Friday nights when it’s too hot to turn on the oven.
There is something very soul-satisfying about making a truly spectacular meal. So what if the floors didn’t get vacuumed? In fact, nothing got done except the making of the really good meal. (I just want you to know that lest you think I’m some kind of super woman. I made a really fabulous loaf of bread; but my floors are filthy.)
I had the last of the chakchouka for breakfast this morning after I came back from Mass. Mmmm…. heavenly! (By the way so was going to Mass all by my lonesome. A necessity, I claimed because Ben is teething still and wants to take his nap during our usual Mass time and will get very fussy. It felt like a super self-indulgence though to slip away with no kids. So quiet and peaceful.)
Anyway, that’s the story of the bread and the chakchouka. If you want the actual recipe, let me know and I’ll post it.
Now I’m going to go have the last slice of bread with some Nutella. (Don’t tell the kids.)