Last month’s First on the First (lobster wellington, anyone?!) gave my wallet fits. And while his month wasn’t a budget buster, it provided challenges of a different kind. We’re tackling naan which is 1) made with refined white flour, and 2) something I make with some frequency. Let me expand…
If you are even an infrequent reader you’ve probably gathered that we aren’t a gluten free (or flour free) household at this point, so the “refined white flour” challenge might be slightly confusing. The Hubs is currently battling an achilles injury less than a month away from Boston Marathon, so we are being very careful about his diet and ensuring that he not put on weight during this change in activity level. So white flour/white sugar are no-no’s for him right now. Given his lack of self control when it comes to home-baked goods, it also means it’s a big fat no-no in our kitchen if he is at home.
The thing is, I really didn’t want to explore naan baking with alt-flours. It just didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. So I needed to bake naan in our house when The Hubs was gone but there was someone other than just me and Baby Bird around to eat it.
The other problem that presented, however, was that good ol’ white flour naan wouldn’t be a real First on the First for me since it’s a pretty common menu item in our house. Tikka masala, Indian slaw, and garlic naan fresh off the griddle stand as a pretty satisfying meal around these parts so trying something new would mean moving beyond my beloved basic garlic naan, brushed with butter and topped with parsley.
Since I wasn’t going to waiver on the flour type, I decided to make a stuffed naan… during a playdate so someone would be around to help with the consumption issue. I originally wanted to stuff it with ground lamb, candied red onions, currants, and cilantro… but our playdate guests were vegetarians so the lamb had to go. I also decided that I wanted to bake it in the oven instead of on the stovetop grill as usual because it seemed like a safer option with extra sets of tiny hands roaming about.
The mix of daytime guests and vegetarian stuffing ended up being the right mix, because there wasn’t a tray full of baked goods poised to taunt The Hubs when he returned from work. And the filling was darn good!
When push comes to shove, my preference will still be the standard garlic naan grilled hot and fluffy on the stovetop- somewhere between oven-baking and stuffing the texture changes just a bit- but this was a nice, substantial treat to now have in my repertoire.
Naan Stuffed with Candied Red Onions, Currants, Garlic and Cilantro
- half a red onion, minced
- 5 tbs butter
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 tbs local honey
- 2 tbs + 1 tsp white sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Directions: Place a pizza stone in oven. Preheat oven to 550 degrees F (convection).
In a heavy bottom sauce pan, melt 3 tbs of butter. Add onions and saute until beginning to soften. Add vinegar, honey, and 2 tbs sugar. Over low heat, cook for about15 minutes until syrup is thick and condensed and resembles a chunky jam.
In a small bowl, melt 1 tbs of butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1 tsp salt and remaining sugar. Pour egg mixture into the flour and stir to combine. Pour half of the warm water into the flour mixture, using a spatula to combine. Add the melted butter and mix again to combine. Using your hands to knead within the bowl, slowly add the remaining water until the dough becomes well incorporated but not sticky.
Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes.
In a clean bowl, combine candied onions, currants, garlic, and cilantro leaves. Stir to combine.
Melt remaining butter.
Divide dough into 4 portions.
Working with the first portion of dough, roll out slightly into a circle on parchment paper. Place 1/4 of the filling mixture into the center, allowing at least a 1/2 inch boarder around the outside. Dampen the edges of the dough with water and pinch together in the center to seal as though you are drawing up a purse.
Invert the dough, seal side down, and roll out once again to flatten gently. Brush top with butter and place directly on pizza stone for 4-6 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough portions.
These ladies also took on the naan challenge this month: