This is No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread- AKA the easiest bread you’ve ever baked in your entire life. No kidding. If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know how much I love cooking and mixing cocktails, but HATE, yes with all caps, HATE baking. It never works for me, it makes a mess, it’s complicated, it’s time consuming…… But this recipe has made me into a convert. Thanks to Girl Versus Dough I will have fresh, homemade bread whenever I want. And just think of how impressed all your guests/host will be when they find out they are using HOMEMADE bread slices to mop up that delicious HOMEMADE dip- you’ll be the hero of the party.
This recipe is from Girl Versus Dough, I have only made the slightest change by adding roasted garlic. Check out How to Roast Garlic for instructions and throw some in there. Try it with, try it without, try other tasty additions, but just promise me you will make this. Pinky promise. You won’t regret it. Also, if you throw in any other wonderful flavors please share. Thanks.
Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon until a wet, sticky dough forms.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 8-18 hours. (It would work well to mix up in the morning before leaving for work). When it's ready it will have risen, be flat on top, and have lots of bubbles visible.
Pre-heat oven to 450 F and place a 6 qt Dutch Oven inside.
Flour hands, punch down the dough. Dump it out onto a floured square of parchment paper. Shape into a ball, dust with flour. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes while the Dutch Oven pre-heats in the oven.
Carefully lift the parchment paper and set the dough in the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Then bake an additional 10 minutes without the lid until the top is golden.
While living in Spain during my study abroad semester I traveled, became comfortable communicating in Spanish, deepened my independence, made new friends, discovered new joys and interests, and got very homesick. One of the things I had a difficult time with was the food. While the food in Spain is delicious, it lacked the variety that I have become accustomed to living in Southern California, not only was I used to having Mexican, Italian, Chinese, American, and Vietnamese food all within a few days, it’s also hard to beat the variety of fresh and organic produce available here. I cooked occasionally for my host parents, but I discovered that the food I missed most were dishes I did not know how to make. Things that mom and grandma always made for me like grandma’s Pho, and mom’s spagetti. I began searching for a new comfort food, something that would be the chicken soup of my Spain experience.
It is ironic that the food I found to be my new comfort food is a very traditional Spanish dish with nothing American about it- tortilla. I find it funny that while in Spain I was homesick for America, but now that I have been back for 5 years, I find myself sometimes feeling homesick for Spain. Homesick for the food, the culture, the history, the architecture, the excitement of living somewhere foreign and having probably fewer worries than I will ever have again. The same food that comforted me in Spain, continues to comfort me and remind me of that wonderful time in my life.
The ingredients and preparation seem simple enough, but the key to making tortilla as good as my host mom did is in the details. You may be tempted to slightly alter the recipe, or maybe skip or change a step that seems unimportant, but don’t. The results just won’t be the same, trust me on this. I have been trying for 5 years to make this with less olive oil, without letting it rest, slicing in cubes using a sharp knife and a cutting board, and I tried boiling the potatoes first, don’t do it. Just follow the steps my host mom gave me to a “T.”
One of the steps I regularly skipped until I realized it’s importance is the way the potatoes are cut. I used to watch my host mom make tortilla and think “why doesn’t she use a cutting board, and WHY is that knife so dull?” I knew they couldn’t afford nice kitchen ware, but it seemed a little too simplistic and even outdated to me to do it like that. But, as it turns out, there’s a method to the madness. I could go on explaining the chemistry of starches and how this makes sense, but, to make a long story short, creating the roughest edge possible on the potato is key to getting the right texture so that it crisps slightly but doesn’t brown and absorbs some of the egg. Why do you not want the potato to brown? I DON”T know, but my host mom said so, and I have learned through trial and error to just take her word for it when it comes to making tortilla. This seemingly simple dish is nothing but simple. The method has been refined over decades, and some things are just better left as they are. Delicious.
Using a dull knife (if a butter knife works, then great) slice part way into the potato then rotate the knife to break off a chunk of it, about 1/2" cubish. The pieces should all be odd shaped and have rough edges. Salt generously.
Place the potatoes in a non stick skillet and just barely cover with olive oil, bring to a simmer. After a few minutes, add the onion. Cook until the potatoes are soft but NOT brown.
Drain the potatoes and onion, reserving the oil. My host mom strained the oil through a paper towel and saved it in the fridge for use in another dish, just remember that the oil now has salt in it. Let the potato and onion sit in the colander draining and cooling for about 10 minutes. Take a taste and add more salt if needed.
Meanwhile, scramble 3 eggs with the water. Gently mix the potato and onion into the egg and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Check the mixture, some of the egg will have been absorbed into the potatoes, so add another if needed to get your preferred consistency. I like mine not as eggy.
Pour about 1 TBS of olive oil back into the skillet and set to medium-high heat. Fill the skillet half way up with potato mixture and cook until halfway set and the bottom is just beginning to brown. Place a plate on top of the skillet and very carefully flip the skillet over and the mixture onto the plate. Slide the potatoes back into the skillet with the uncooked side down and continue to cook until the bottom browns and the egg is cooked. The center should still be slightly soft. Slice into wedges and serve warm.
This is a total non-recipe recipe. I say that because it doesn’t necessarily need precise measurements or a lot of ingredients, but sometimes you run across a particular combination of things that are just too wonderful not to share. This happened to me last night. I was not planning on blogging this recipe (hence the poor photography) but after digging in I was like, whoa, I have to share this. Then Brittany from Tragic Girls blog had an idea for a series called Simple Sundays where I share meals that are easy and quick for those Sunday’s where you don’t have the energy for anything more than quick and easy. I thought this would be a perfect one to start with because you can use leftovers or pre-made items if you have them, measurements don’t need to be exact and you can totally customize to your taste. So I snapped a pick and here we are.
This was incredibly easy to put together and it would actually be a really good idea for a build your own loaded fries bar for a Superbowl Party- just line up all the different toppings and let them go at it. Or make as a snack while watching Golf Channel on Sunday afternoon (and by that I mean desperately trying to find something else to do while your husband watchs golf). I used frozen Alexia Sweet Potato fries and baked them because no one has the time (or desire) to slice and fry up potatoes and then clean up the mess when it’s so easy to dump a bag of precut and seasoned fries on a sheet pan and throw them in the oven. I also used a pre-marinated meat to go on top- the Arrachera steak from Costco to be exact. It’s sooooo good. I bought a 3 lb package at 7.22 per pound and divided it out into 1/4lb bags and froze them so I can use it later for tacos, burrito bowls, or Spicy Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili (recipe testing in progress). Seriously, you should make this. For very little effort you get delicious and impressive results. This recipe will make enough for 4 as a full meal and probably 6-8 as an appetizer or snack but the recipe can easily be cut in half.
1 bag of Alexia Sweet Potato Fries
1 lb of pre-marinated carne asada or arrachera steak
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 can black beans
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
hot sauce to taste (I used Tapatio)
Bake fries according to package instructions.
While fries are baking, cook the meat- it is best grilled but if that’s not possible cook in a heavy skillet on med- high to get some good searing. Cook just under done. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips or cubes and set aside.
Heat black beans in a pot with the cumin.
When the fries are done sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on top followed by the black beans, steak and onion followed by another handful of cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Top with avocado and hot sauce just before serving.