BBQ Shakshuka & Soldiers
by Northern Life
FOR A BANGING COOKOUT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY CHECK OUT PIT-MASTER DJ BBQ’S FIRE FEASTS. HERE’S ONE OF OUR FAVOURITES
Did you know that one emu egg is the equivalent of six hen eggs? We’re going to stick with hen eggs for this recipe, but if you can get hold of an emu egg don’t be scared to experiment…!
Set-up: Half and half technique. You’ll need a plancha and a large
cast-iron frying pan (skillet), or two frying pans.
For the flatbread soldiers
- 400g (14oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour
- 400g (14oz) natural (plain) yoghurt
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Butter, softened, for brushing
For the Shakshuka
- 2 large onions, peeled
- 2 long sweet red peppers
- 100g (3½oz) chorizo, roughly chopped
- 100g (3½oz) smoked bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
- ½ tsp pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes or crushed chile pepper – or use paprika)
- 2 x 400g (14oz) cans plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 6 eggs
- Small bunch of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Small bunch of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
Half and half
Half the grill covered with an even bed of coal, giving you direct and indirect heat.
This set-up gives you a solid cooking area with a good-sized safe zone for those times when the fire gets out of hand.
Fire up your coals – you need a low to medium heat for this cook, as the dish will need a nice long simmer. It’s best to fire up enough coals to create a medium heat so you can cook the veg, then the coals will be perfect for the main cook. Keep your grill off, as you are going to coal-roast your veg. When your coals are ready, place your onions directly on them – peeled but whole. Turn them periodically until soft. This will take some time – depending on the size of the onion, it could take 30–60 minutes. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can grill the onions or just cook ’em in a pan. Place the peppers on the coals about 20 minutes after the onions go on and give them a good char. Move the veg around for a good all-over cook. When soft to the touch, take ’em off and let them rest.
While your veg is slowly cooking, make the flatbread dough. Simply mix the flour, yoghurt, baking powder and salt together, and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Rest, covered in a bowl for 10–15 minutes.
Place the grill and a cast-iron frying pan on the cooker and get that heat rocking. Chuck in the chorizo and bacon, fry until all the oil renders out and all the meat is crispy.
Chop up the garlic and charred onions and peppers, and add them to the pan. Tip in the spices, fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes, honey and dried oregano, and continue to cook for another 20–25 minutes until thick, bubbly and fragrant.
While that baby bubbles (and it will bubble all over the place), it’s time to make your flatbread soldiers. Divide the dough into eight balls and roll them flat using a rolling pin. Put the shakshuka to one side and place a frying pan or plancha on the grill to get hot. If you are rocking a big ol’ grill with loads of real estate for cooking, then have both pans going at the same time. Place a flatbread in the hot dry frying pan for about 30 seconds, then flip it over and cook for another minute or two until golden. Set aside and brush with a bit of butter. Repeat with the other flatbreads.
Put the pan with the shakshuka back on the grill and bring to a simmer. Now the tricky bit… cracking eggs without splitting the yolk. Carefully crack your eggs and drop them superclose into the sauce. Make sure you give each egg some space to swim in that sauce. When the egg whites go white, you’re good to eat. You’ll need a big fat spoon to serve up the delicious savoury goodness with each egg. Slice the flatbreads into long strips and dunk away!
Fire Feasts: The Awesome BBQ Book for Feasting with Friends and Family by Christian Stevenson (DJ BBQ). Available from Amazon £11.69
NorthernLife July/August 2022