Roasted tomato, onion and cheddar bread with steak, Brie, and red pepper jelly

I don’t know if it’s the weather, or just my mood, but lately I’ve been in the mood for home-baked breads and rich snacking foods.

This particular recipe is actually a three-part recipe, as it includes the bread itself (which is amazing on its own!), a spicy red pepper jelly that is a fantastically flavourful condiment, and the compilation of these two products together with the steak and the cheese.

Putting these little open-faced sandwich snackers together is the easy part; cook the steak to your liking (I recommend rare to medium rare), slice some thin wedges of a nice, creamy Brie, and top your sliced bread with the cheese, steak and red pepper jelly.

The Bread

This bread is one of the easiest and most delicious bread recipes you will ever come across. It actually isn’t a bread recipe at all, it is a muffin recipe that I put into a loaf tin. Its closest relation would be cornbread, although there is no cornmeal in it. As this is a muffin recipe, feel free to use the same measurements to make 12 regular-sized muffins. Just keep in mind, if you’re going to be making muffins the cooking time will have to be reduced to 25 to 30 minutes.

The vegetables and cheeses in this recipe are also very interchangeable.  I chose to use tomato, red onion and cheddar cheese in this loaf, but it can be done with peas and feta, corn and peppers- the possibilities are endless!

When making any sort of bread that contains a watery ingredient like onions or tomatoes, I first like to dry them out in a 375F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows them to lose some of their water content, and develop their flavours a bit before being added to the mix. They will need to cool before being added to the batter, so be prepared for a bit of prep work with this recipe.

I prefer this bread to be a bit on the spicy side, so I like to add a bit of ground black pepper and ground cayenne pepper to the recipe. These ingredients are completely optional, so use them as you like. I blend the black pepper in with my dry ingredients, and dust the batter with the cayenne when it is in the loaf tin. Remember to give the loaf sufficient time to cool after baking. This bread will last for about a week if wrapped properly with plastic wrap, so it can definitely be done ahead of time.

Red Pepper Jelly

Red pepper jelly is a mixture of pureed red peppers, aromatic vegetables such as onions and carrots (optional, but I like the added sweetness), a spicy kick provided by red chilis, a sweetness added by normal white sugar, and the acidity of white wine vinegar. The jelly consistency is created using pectin, a naturally occurring thickener found in fruit that is the standard ingredient in most jellies and jams. When I decided to make red pepper jelly at home, I found myself without pectin and improvised using a common household ingredient, strawberry jam. The sweetness and texture of the jam were welcome additions to my red pepper jelly, and cut down the amount of white sugar I used. Because the ingredients are pureed together anyway, there is no need to worry about chunks of strawberry ending up in your red pepper jelly. No one will even know it contains strawberries, and you certainly don’t have to tell them!

Although red pepper jelly is a commonly found ingredient on most supermarket shelves, the homemade stuff is way better.  Not only are you able to adjust the taste to your liking, but everyone you share it with will appreciate the homemade touch. It is a delicious condiment, that works with a variety of ingredients- cheese, crackers, meats, and breads all work very well with this savoury-sweet jelly.

The jelly will keep well in the fridge for well over a month, but it is still a good idea to sterilize the jars first. This is done by immersing the glass jars (mason jars are standard, but you can also recycle any old glass jars that you have) in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Carefully remove the glass jars from the hot water, allow to cool, and fill.

Putting it all together

Rub the steak with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sear for a minute or two on each side in a very hot pan. Finish in a 350F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak and desired doneness. Allow the steak to rest for a good 15 minutes before slicing thinly.

Slice the bread into approximately ½ inch pieces and toast it off in either a 350F oven or a toaster oven. I like to butter my toasted bread with a rosemary compound butter, which is simply a combination of finely chopped rosemary leaves and unsalted butter. This is another optional step, but I find the earthy flavor of rosemary adds a nice finish to everything.

Put a small wedge of brie onto each piece of toast, followed by a small slice of the steak, and a bit of the jelly. The brie should begin to melt slightly as soon as it hits the toasted bread, and the end result is a decadent, creamy, herby, spicy combination of flavours in one small sandwich.

 

Roasted tomato, onion and cheddar cheese loaf

You will need:

1 cup plus 3 tbsp all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper ( completely optional)

2 large eggs

1 cup plus 1 tbsp 3.25% milk (homo milk)

¼ cup butter, melted and cooled

1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced finely

½ large red onion, diced finely

¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Place onions and tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, just until slightly dried out. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  4. Melt the butter, and allow it to stand while you continue the steps (in order for it to cool down)
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
  6. Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture (this can be done with a wooden spoon, or a hand mixer or standing mixer on medium speed), and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue to mix on low speed as you add the melted butter. Mix until everything is just brought together.
  8. Mix in the onion, tomato, and shredded cheese.
  9. Place batter into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper.
  10. If extra spice is desired, dust the top of the loaf lightly with cayenne pepper.
  11. Bake in the oven at 375F for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and a fork inserted comes out clean.
  12. Allow to fully cool before slicing.

 

Red Pepper Jelly

You will need:

2 red bell peppers, diced finely

2 red chilis, chopped finely

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ cup strawberry jam

Method:

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the peppers, vinegar and sugar to a boil.
  2. Reduce temperature to medium, and allow to continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add strawberry jam. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the mixture.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before pouring carefully into sterilized jars. Seal jars and store in the fridge.
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