When I started the new recipe every week for a year project, I had a goal in mind. I wanted to try out new techniques and new ingredients as I went along. Well, this week I didn’t learn a new technique. I was under the weather a bit, and just wanted something a little soothing and easy. Hence basically a roasted veggie dish. I roast vegetables all the time. I love how they taste, and roasting is something I’m quite good at.
I did, however, try out a new ingredient. Halloumi cheese. One thing to keep in mind when trying out this recipe, take it seriously when it says not to salt the veggies. Halloumi, like the Feta offered as an alternative, is very salty. I honestly didn’t want any more salt than was already in the cheese.
Where did I find this one? From the ever fabulous Nigella Lawson in her book Nigella Bites. It’s a lovely veggie dish that’s absolutely vegetarian-friendly. I intend to make it again and try some different veggies, because while I adore this combination, I could see a lot of other delicious things working in the dish. The cheese obviously makes it not very vegan, but if you left off the cheese (which is only added at the end) and threw a dash of salt on it, you’d have a fabulously delicious and hearty vegan dish, too. Those of us who eat meat can rely on this as a satisfying side to steaks or chops. Seriously, anyone who can chop up veggies and roast them should give this one a go, because it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.
So let’s get to the heart of the matter: the recipe.
Double Potato and Halloumi Bake
1 large sweet potato
1 large firm/red potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 head of garlic
4Tblsp olive oil
4 1/2 oz halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can
ovenproof 2-qt casserole
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Cut the sweet potato into rough 1 1/2″ cubes and the red potatoes slightly smaller (1″ cubes) as the sweet potato will cook more quickly. Halve the red onion, then cut each half into 4 – 6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin. Seed the peppers and cut into 1″ squares, and separate the cloves of garlic (Twistie sez: Nigella didn’t say to, but I peeled the sweet potato and garlic, so as not to have to deal with those skins in the finished dish, and everything turned out great. IOW, if there’s something you’d like to peel, go ahead and peel it.). Put everything into a casserole or whatever you want to use (Nigella sez: it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil. Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty (Nigella sez: and anyway, the salt will make water leach out). Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown. You’ll need to turn the oven up to maximum or light the broiler for the endgame, so place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the broiler until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5 – 10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting pan.
Serves 2 – 3.
I had this one with just a simple lamb chop while Mr. Twistie was off working late (he can’t stand either sweet potato or lamb, but I adore them both), and it was beyond delicious. Just smelling it cook made me smile. Then when it came out of the oven all toasty and caramelized with not-quite-melty cheese on top, it made me happy all over again. It tasted even better than it looked and smelled, too.
Trust me, this is ridiculously simple to do and insanely delicious to eat. Extend the recipe and serve it to company. They’ll think you worked a lot harder than you did, even if you don’t soften them up with one of Plummy’s cocktails first!