sweet potato shakshuka

3 tasty store cupboard recipes courtesy of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

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Ever wondered what expert Ottolenghi chefs cook at home? Thanks to this new recipe book, you can now discover their lockdown secrets.

Whether you were previously a kitchen maestro or a microwave devotee, lockdown brought the home cook out in all of us. If we’ve learnt anything from our collective period of isolation (aside from the fact that making sourdough is harder than it looks), it’s that disparate collections of ingredients breed creativity. For restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi and the team of chefs based in the London Test Kitchen he uses to road-test new projects, lockdown meant the same thing – except with slightly more scope for experimentation.

Faced with nothing but their own kitchen cupboards, the team took to creating easy dishes made with store cupboard ingredients and the culinary je ne sais quoi that always comes with Ottolenghi creations. Now, Yotam Ottolenghi, alongside recipe tester Noor Murad, is sharing these tried and tested home kitchen-friendly recipes in new cookbook, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love.

The first in a four part series of cookbooks from the Test Kitchen, Shelf Love is full of the Middle Eastern flavours, vegetable-heavy dishes and ingenious cooking techniques you’d expect – all shared with customisable tips to make each combination your own. Plus, the coffee table-ready tome is designed notebook-style, with space to scribble amendments. If you’re a fan of meal kits, you’ll want to take delivery of Dishpatch’s Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Mezze on 1 October, complete with everything you need to whip up a three course Middle Eastern feast. Prefer the DIY option? Below are three recipes you’ll want to make this week…

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad
Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad

If stuffed peppers are a staple in your weekly meal rotation, you’ll want to try this Mexican-inspired version. Cheesy creamed corn is stuffed into long Romano peppers and dotted with piquant jalapenos for a moreish main to front any potato dish.

Cheese and pastry are everything you need to make comfort food, and the cauliflower cheese filo pie makes the best of both. Ottolenghi and Murad combine spiced cauliflower with a dollop of English mustard and cheddar for an oozy creation you’ll want to make on repeat.

For shakshuka fans, Ottolenghi and Murad’s version is suitably amped up. The pair stir baked sweet potatoes into flavoursome cheddar and sriracha, then use the mixture as a base for oozy eggs. All that’s left to do is decide on a bread genre to go alongside. Pita or sourdough? That is the question…

  • Creamed corn stuffed peppers with pickled jalapeños

    corn stuffed peppers
    Ottolenghi Test Kitchen recipes: corn stuffed peppers with pickled jalapeños

    Yotam and Noor say: “These impressive-looking peppers are deceptively easy to put together, and a sure way to put that bag of frozen sweetcorn to good use. Eat this alongside a broad bean and herb salad or some roasted potatoes, for a complete meal.”

    Serves 4, as a light lunch

    Prep time: 20 minutes

    Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1 green jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeds and all (15g)
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp caster sugar
    • 250g frozen sweetcorn kernels, defrosted
    • 100ml double cream
    • 50g quick-cook polenta
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 egg
    • 105ml olive oil
    • 75g low-moisture mozzarella, roughly grated
    • 75g mature cheddar, roughly grated
    • 4 medium red romano peppers
    • 2 onions, cut into 5 x 1cm rounds
    • 5g thyme sprigs
    • 10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
    • salt and black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

    Put the jalapeño, vinegar and sugar into a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside to pickle.

    Put the sweetcorn, cream, polenta, two-thirds of the garlic, the egg, 1 tablespoon of oil, ¾ teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper into a food processor and pulse to a very rough purée. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the cheeses.

    Use a small, sharp knife to make an incision lengthways into each romano pepper (making sure not to cut through the ends), keeping the stem intact. Gently use your fingers to remove and discard the seeds, then stuff each pepper with the sweetcorn mixture.

    Put 1 tablespoon of oil in the base of a large, cast-iron saucepan or sauté pan and then top with the onion rounds and thyme to cover the base, sprinkling with a little salt and pepper. Place the peppers, slit side up, on top of the onions and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then pour 200ml of water into the pan, making sure not to pour it on top of the peppers. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat up to 200°C fan and bake for another 20 minutes, or until everything is soft and nicely coloured.

    Meanwhile, put the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, the coriander, the remaining garlic, 1⁄8 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper into a small bowl and stir to combine.

    Spoon the coriander oil and pickled jalapeños over the peppers and serve warm. 

  • Curried cauliflower cheese filo pie

    cauliflower cheese pie
    Ottolenghi Test Kitchen recipes: curried cauliflower cheese filo pie

    Yotam and Noor say: “Cauliflower cheese, but make it pie. This dish was once described as ‘molten-hot-cheese-lava’ and we think that’s pretty fitting for the ultimate comfort of comfort foods.”

    Serves 4, generously

    Prep time: 20 minutes

    Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (700g)
    • 2 tsp mild curry powder
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 100g unsalted butter, 50g cut into roughly 3cm cubes and 50g melted
    • 75g plain flour
    • 675ml whole milk
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1½ tbsp English mustard
    • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
    • 6 sheets of good-quality filo pastry (we use feuilles de filo)
    • salt and black pepper
    • 1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley, to serve
    • 1½ tsp lemon zest, to serve

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Line the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

    Put the cauliflower on a large, parchment-lined baking tray and toss with the curry powder, half the oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly coloured. Set aside, and turn the oven temperature down to 170°C fan.

    Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Put the cubed butter into a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and, once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes – it should start to smell nutty (like popcorn). Turn the heat down to medium and slowly add the milk a little at a time, whisking continuously to prevent any lumps, until incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Cook, whisking often, for about 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Off the heat, stir in the garlic, mustard, cheese and ¼ teaspoon of salt until the cheese has melted.

    Keep your filo sheets under a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. In a bowl, combine the melted butter and the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil and keep to one side.

    Working one sheet at a time, brush the exposed side of the filo with the butter mixture and drape it into your prepared tin (buttered side up), pushing it down gently to fit. Continue in this way with the next filo sheet, brushing it with butter and then laying it over the bottom sheet, rotating it slightly so the overhang drapes over the sides at a different angle. Do this with all six sheets.

    Spoon half the béchamel into the base and top with the roasted cauliflower florets. Spoon over the remaining béchamel, then crimp up the overhang so that it creates a messy ‘scrunched-up’ border around the edges, leaving the centre of the pie exposed.

    Brush the top of the filo border with the remaining butter mixture, then transfer the tin to a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

    Using a tea towel to help you, carefully release the outer circle of the springform tin and return the pie to the oven for another 20–25 minutes, or until the sides are nicely coloured and everything is golden and bubbling. Leave to settle for 15 minutes.

    Top the pie with the parsley and lemon zest and serve warm. 

  • Sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions

    sweet potato shakshuka
    Ottolenghi Test Kitchen recipes: sweet potato shakshuka with sriracha butter and pickled onions

    Yotam and Noor say: “A far cry from a classic shakshuka, yes, but we’ve found that sweet potatoes provide just the right amount of moisture and heft to serve as a base for these eggs. Serve this vibrant dish as a weekend brunch; it sure looks the part.”

    Serves 4

    Prep: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1kg sweet potatoes, skin on and scrubbed clean
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds (100g)
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
    • 8 medium eggs
    • 25g unsalted butter
    • ¾ tbsp sriracha
    • 2 tbsp picked fresh coriander leaves, with some stem attached
    • salt and black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C fan. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork (about 8–10 times) and place them on a medium, parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until cooked through and softened. Set aside to cool and turn the oven temperature down to 180°C fan.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle.

    Remove the cooked potato skins and tear them into roughly 4cm pieces. Transfer the potato flesh to a large bowl and set aside. Place the skins back on the baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until nicely coloured and starting to crisp up. Set aside to cool and crisp up further.

    Use a fork to mash the potato flesh until smooth, then add the cheddar, garlic, cumin, another tablespoon of oil, the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, and mix to combine.

    Put the remaining tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, and swirl around to coat the bottom. Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the pan, using your spoon to distribute it evenly. Place on a medium-high heat and leave to cook for about 7 minutes, for the bottom to start to colour. Turn the heat down to medium and use a spoon to make eight wells in the potato mixture, breaking an egg into each. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for 4–5 minutes, rotating the pan, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

    While the eggs are cooking, put the butter and sriracha into a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, whisking constantly to emulsify. Remove the mixture from the heat before it starts to bubble – you don’t want it to split.

    When ready, spoon the sriracha butter all over the eggs, then top with a good handful of the crispy potato skins, half the pickled onion and all the picked coriander leaves. Serve right away, with the rest of the potato skins and pickled onion to eat alongside. 

    Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (£25, Ebury Publishing) is out today

Photography: Elena Heatherwick

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