Friday, 2 November 2012

Chocshuka

When Ethel the Goat first came into my life and tempted me with the #capricornchallenge, I was really excited at the prospect of creating some savoury chocolate and goats cheese dishes. When the hamper arrived full of good things, including olive oil, onions, peppers, tomatoes, thyme and goat's cheese of course, the very first thing I thought about was a chocolate version of Shakshouka. This is a North African dish which is purportedly the precursor to the Spanish Omelette. It's a dish of onions, peppers and tomatoes topped off with poached eggs and is really delicious. This together with Megadarra, a Middle Eastern rice and lentil dish is a staple in our house, especially if we have friends or family eating with us. I first had it when I was living in Egypt and immediately fell in love. Much as I love it, however, I had never had it with chocolate before - well why not? As goats cheese was the challenge ingredient, I substituted this for the eggs and thus Chocshuka was born.

This is how I made it:
  • Cut one red onion into thin slices
  • Heated 3 tbsp olive oil in a large deep frying pan and threw in a tsp of cumin seeds.
  • Added the onion and fried gently until soft.
  • Deseeded and cut one large red pepper and one large yellow pepper lengthways into slices.
  • Added these to the pan and stirred.
  • Deseeded and finely chopped a red hot chilli pepper (lacotto) and added this to the pan.
  • Chopped 300g small ripe tomatoes in half and added these.
  • Added 2 cloves finely chopped garlic and the leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme.
  • Seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, added a splash of water and left to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Added 25g of chopped 70% dark chocolate and stirred until fully incorporated.
  • Added 100g of sliced Capricorn goat's cheese and allowed to melt a little before serving.
We ate this, scooping it up with ciabatta bread and it was even better than I was hoping. The chocolate added a certain richness, without turning this flavoursome,  colourful and inviting dish into the vegetable equivalent of Nile mud.


25 comments:

  1. I've got red peppers in my fridge so I can give it a go!!!
    Have a great day!

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    1. Hope you like it manu. Let me know what you think.

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  2. C, this is AMAZING... you deserve a win with this one, how innovative and delicious... and so elegant. I can imagine the chocolate would make this so lovely and rich... I MUST give this a go.

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  3. ooh unusual...I love goats cheese omelette but this sounds amazing.

    Happy weekend.
    debx

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    1. Debby, I don't think I've ever tried goats cheese omelette - an omission that must soon be rectified.

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  4. Wow - I must have been living under a rock as I've never come across the original version. I applude your bold use of chocolate too ;0)

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    1. Oh do try it Chele, an original version, it's truly delicious.

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  5. this is very original! I love goats cheese too and your omelette looks very inviting!

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    1. Thank you Alida, I expect you have something quite similar in Italy.

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  6. This sounds really interesting! I'm going to have to give it a go. Also, I think if mu mum sees this she may be knocking at your door, megadarra is one of her favourite things.

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    1. Ooh, how exciting, another megadarra fan - it might just be me knocking at your mum's door! Let me know how you get on if you do make it.

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  7. I've tried the original recipe with eggs (I LOVE it), now I feel inspired to substitute the eggs with goat cheese and add chocolate...I believe that the result would be rich and creamy. Well done, this is very creative

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    1. Thank you Rita, Chakshuka is so delicious. This version makes for a very interesting alternative though, so do let me know how you get on if you do make it.

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  8. What an interesting use of chocolate! I've tried a little in savoury dishes, but always 100% unsweetened - good to know the 70% works well too!

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    1. Celia, I'd prefer to use 100% unsweetened, but it's hard to get hold of and very expensive. I do often use 85%, but 70% is fine as it doesn't have that much sugar in it.

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  9. Oh yum - I can't even read the words 'goats cheese' without salivating - I love the stuff!

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    1. You and me both CC. I remember the first time I ever had Goat's cheese, a time in the dim and distant past, when I thought it was very odd stuff, but now it is a different story all together.

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  10. Sounds really interesting. I have to admit I hadn't really thought of adding chocolate to a med-style dish but this sounds like it would work really well!

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    1. It worked as well as I'd hoped it would C, which is to say, very well ;-)

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  11. This really sounds wonderful. I am bookmarking this for a weekend brunch.

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    1. Yes Nazima, this would make a fantastic brunch. It's really quite simple and if it's served with really good bread, nothing else is needed.

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  12. Choclette, this is so amazing on so many levels. I love shakshouka, but surely only you could think of introducing a chocolate element! I saw this post a few days ago and have been obsessively thinking about it ever since. Now I just need to be brave enough to try making it...

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    1. Lucy, I've really enjoyed finding out that other's eat Shakshouka too. No one I've ever served it too has come across it before and it deserves to be better known. The chocolate really does work, it just gives it some extra richness and body which just seems to work - or so we thought anyway ;-)

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  13. That is fabulous! I just recently discovered Shakshouka and now this. Then also with goat's cheese ... what else can I say?! Great!

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