The best way to get yourself into a cooking mood is listening to the music from the same country you are paying your respects to... So here is one of my favourite French songs and dishes.
Basque Pipérade with Chorizo & Duck Eggs
When it’s pouring with rain and you are stuck at home, with a blanket, a glass of red wine and the urge to eat something deeply comforting – this is the dish to go for!
Maybe that's the reason I like living in London? Days like this are often and much appreciated, no need for an excuse to stay home, stuff your face and relax.
I could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner… (on the same day).
But if I had to choose - I would serve it as a Sunday Brunch (best meal of the week, wink wink).
Pipérade (pronounced “peep-ay-rod”) is a specialty from the French Basque region, it’s easy to make from the food you already might have in the fridge anyway, and it tastes divine! Its main colours are red, green and white -as per their flag.
Sooo… tomatoes, peppers and onions it is! There are a couple of different suggestions of what to add as extra according to taste (garlic, eggs, chorizo etc.), and you can find MY favourite recipe here!
I wanted to add some meat to the dish, like the little piggie I am. Having Spain in my mind I thought it might be a nice idea to add some spicy chorizo to it. Indeed… it was the best idea ever, The wannabe Italian in me also thought of adding some prosciutto, but in the end I stayed true to the first idea.
As French cooking goes, don’t expect anything else than having a very rich dish to nibble on.
150g fresh chorizo, meat removed from casings (casings discarded)
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 long sweet pointed red pepper, seeded and chopped (rosted, in oil are also great!)
6 medium ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped or 1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dried bay leaf
6 duck eggs (or usual if don’t have)
6 – 8 slices of crusty bread, brushed with olive oil
Some thyme for garnish
Good onion chopping tip: use your ski goggles!
Chop/slice up all your yummy fresh ingredients to be ready for the magic to happen.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. Crumble in the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned and starting to get a little bit crisp, about 10 minutes
Add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped peppers to the onion, mixing well. Cover the pan and cook gently, stirring now and then, for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
If you don’t have the fast version of canned chopped tomatoes, you use fresh ones:
Cut a small X into the bottom of each tomato. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add tomatoes and cook until skin begins to wrinkle and peel at the edges of the cuts, about 30 seconds. Drain, rinse with cool water and peel off the skin with your fingers. Chop them up roughly.
Stir in tomatoes, garlic and spices, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until tomatoes are starting to fall apart and peppers are soft but still hold their shape, about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes more. Add salt.
At this point, you can leave the mixture in the pan and bake the eggs directly in the pan, or divide the mixture evenly among four (or more, depending on…) individual baking dishes. As you can see, I did one little pretty one and then the full pan on its own as well. Whether you’re working with one big pan or with four individual baking dishes, use a big spoon to make little wells in the sauce, and crack the duck eggs into the indentations.
Transfer the pan or little dishes to the oven and bake until the eggs are just set, about 12 minutes. You can toast the bread in the oven at the same time if you haven’t done that yet.
Garnish, dip in the toasted bread and be proud of your special home cooked Pipérade.
Note: If you feel like it’s great to be a vegetarian you can always just skip the Chorizo and it will still be amazing. That I can promise!