Monday, February 29, 2016

Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka with Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Cilantro Whipped Feta, + Garlic Rubbed Grilled Bread

I've been bad again, I promised I would do a better job blogging, but I have miserably failed. This portion on my life has been complete rock bottom, and I just can't seem to wrap my head around all of the issues. Bur what I do know, is that when I'm down in the dumps or sad, cooking and baking is my go-to stress reliever. And now that it is pretty much springtime, that means it's time to celebrate my favorite day (and meal) of the week... BRUNCH!! We were feeling extra adventurous and decided to make the new foodie-media darling, Shakshuka. Essentially, it is a dish with you stew tomatoes, spices, herbs, and peppers to create an extra potent sauce. I decided it would be cool to do it with a Mexican twist to it by using mainly bell peppers + onion with just a bit of my homemade brown butter tomato sauce. Besides the whole pure gold of runny yolk braised in a spicy bell pepper sauce, there are two different types of cheese... shredded habanero cheddar + cilantro whipped feta. The cheese serve as a vessel to hold the eggs in their "craters", so that the egg white doesn't run everywhere. But with my Shakshuka being influence by Mexican flavors, I kicked up the bell pepper sauce with some cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. Between the char on the veggies and the smokey spices, you really get that authentic Spanish style flavor. And y'know that lovable characteristic of sopping up the broth at the bottom of a bowl of mussels... well this has that too! You have to get some good, hearty, thick-cut bread, which you then fry or grill and rub-a-dub-dub a garlic clove all over the sides of the slices (just for that little bite on your tastebuds). I mean honestly, there is literally nothing more satisfying than a crunchy piece of bread dipped into a luscious, runny egg yolk, and then scooped up with some melty cheese and charred peppers. And can you believe it... THIS DISH IS VEGETARIAN, that never happens here on H+H. Trust me on this though, you won't miss the meat one bit because it is that satisfying and fulfilling. So, give this recipe a whirl, whether it's for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and/or dinner. You seriously won't regret it!! Enjoy :)
beautiful peppers + onions
bell pepper shakshuka with wells filled with habanero cheddar
next up... cilantro whipped feta
crack dem eggz in the cheesy craters
season with salt + peppa, y'all
bake it + enjoy the heck outta it

oh snap, bread sopping is my favorite pastime
it's like brunch bruschetta. 
drip. drip. drop.
that's one sunny yolk.
what dreams are made of.
For the Bell Pepper Shakshuka:
¼C Canola Oil
4 Bell Peppers (we used one red, orange, yellow, and green), Cut into Strips
2 Jalapenos, Seeded + Cut into Strips
2 Red Onions, Sliced
4T Dark Brown Sugar
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Sliced
½C Homemade Brown Butter Heirloom Tomato Sauce
4T Unsalted Butter
1t Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, + Red Pepper Flakes
¼t Cayenne
1T Dried Oregano
3 Bay Leaves
3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Sea Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Cilantro Whipped Feta:
8oz Feta Cheese, Crumbled + Room Temperature
4oz Whipped Cream Cheese
3-4T Fresh Cilantro, Minced
Sea Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka:
Hot Sautéed Bell Pepper Shakshuka Mixture
1C Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Prepared Cilantro Whipped Feta
6 Medium Eggs
1T Fresh Cilantro + 1T Fresh Parsley, Minced
Verde Hot Sauce, For Topping
Grilled Sourdough Bread (that has been rubbed with a clove of garlic while it’s still hot)

1. For the Cilantro Whipped Feta: Add crumbled feta to a food processor and pulse until small crumbs remain. Add in whipped cream cheese and puree for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the feta is super creamy. Remove from the food processor and place into a bowl and fold in the minced cilantro and a pinch of salt + pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use.
2. For the Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka: Heat a wok over high heat until it is just about to start smoking. Add in the canola oil and throw in the sliced bell peppers, jalapeno, red onions, and brown sugar. Cook the peppers until slightly soft while having a good char on them. This will take about 10 minutes or so. Toss in the garlic and sautéed for 2-3 minutes. Next, get out your cast iron skillet and bring it up to medium-low heat, adding in the butter until it is completely melted. Move the charred peppers and onions to the warmed cast iron. Stir in some of my homemade brown butter heirloom cherry tomato sauce, all of the spices, and herbs. Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Simmer this Shakshuka mixture for about 10 minutes, or until everything has started to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning as this dish is meant to be potent and flavorful. Remove the bay leaves after the cooking time has elapsed.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Assembling the Shakshuka: Using a spoon, create 6 wells in the Shakshuka bell pepper mixture. Next, sprinkle in a small handful of the shredded habanero cheddar, followed by a spoonful of the cilantro whipped feta on top of the shredded cheese. These two components will help “cradle” the eggs, so that they will not spread out and cover all of the Shakshuka sauce. Crack one egg into each of one of the holes, and finally sprinkle with kosher and fresh cracked pepper on top of each egg.
5. Baking the Shakshuka: Place the Shakshuka into your preheated oven. Bake the Shakshuka until the egg whites have solidified, but the yolk remains runny. This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven and how big the eggs are. But, just keep an eye on them if it has passed the 10 minutes because this is all about the runny yolks, folks.
6. Finishing the Bell Pepper Shakshuka: Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh minced cilantro and parsley. Drizzle on some of the Verde hot sauce.
7. Serve the Bell Pepper Shakshuka with garlic rubbed, grilled bread for mopping!