This past October, JB and I honeymooned in Ireland for two weeks AND IT WAS AWESOME. We drove, we ate, we toured, we shivered, and drank lots of the good stuff. I'm almost certain that Ireland is what Heaven looks like.
The food in Ireland was really great. We ate lots of local, fresh seafood and LOTS OF REALLY DELICIOUS CARBS. Brown bread was served with EVERYTHING, and was best slathered in irish butter (duh) or dunked into a hearty stew. Another delicious carb that we really loved were scones! Ireland in October could get right chilly, so retreating into a cafe for tea and an afternoon snack was almost an everyday occurrence.
I left Ireland wanting to open a tea shop of my own. Though I don't think a tea shop is in the cards for us (at least not anytime soon,) scones definitely are! We ate scones that were generally studded with dried currants or raisins, but the savory scone recipe I've got for you today is going to knock your socks off!
I tend to be a messy cook. I also tend to be a stressed cook. To live harmoniously in my kitchen, one of these things needed to change.
Recently, I have really started to appreciate the value of mise en place ("everything in place.") By pre-measuring ingredients and doing prep before combining your ingredients together, you are able to eliminate lots of possible irritating situations.
If you are going to use a fresh red pepper for these scones, go ahead and roast that bad boy. You can roast it in your oven set at a high heat or blister the skin under the broiler (make sure you watch it! Smoke alarms are irritating pieces of equipment.)
I chose to roast mine directly on our gas stove's burner. Over a medium flame, I turned the pepper every minute or two until the sides were nice and toasty.
While still warm, I removed the top and seeds, and then scraped most of the charred skin off using a sharp knife. Leave some of those crispy bits on, though. They look pretty and they taste divine. If you don't feel like roasting your own red peppers, Trader Joes sells really tasty already-roasted peps!
- 4-4 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup medium-chopped roasted red peppers
- heaping 1/2 cup coarsely-crumbled feta cheese *
- 3 heaping Tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
*I think I will bump up the amount of feta I use next time to a heaping 3/4 cup. I really love the salty, bright bite that the feta added.
Go ahead and prepare your mise en place. Measure your flour, cut your butter, pull out your egg. Make sure your red pepper is prepped, your cheese is crumbled and your basil chopped.
Using olive oil, grease your cast iron skillet. Move a rack into the upper third of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a large bowl. Dump in the butter chunks, and use your fingertips to quickly incorporate the butter into the flour. The goal is to rub the butter into the flour- not melt it with your hands. I use a pinching method (think of a crab's claw) to squeeze the two together. Do this for about 30 seconds- until all of the butter chunks are the size of peas or smaller.
Measure out your buttermilk and crack your egg into it. Use a small whisk or fork to combine the two wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Before the two are completely mixed add the feta, basil and red pepper. Stir just a few times to barely incorporate.
Pour out your batter onto a lightly floured surface. Knead together until just combined (6-10 kneads.) If your dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Your dough should be moist and shaggy, but not sticky and drippy. Pat your dough into a round, 8-10 inches in diameter. Transfer into your cast iron skillet, and pat until your dough is of even thickness and meets the edges of your pan.
Using a sharp knife, draw a deep "X" shape in your scone dough. Brush with buttermilk (mine looked pretty wet) and sprinkle generously with freshly-cracked black pepper.
Bake for 35-45 minutes. Your scones are done when they have reached a lovely golden-brown color on top, and a skewer can be removed clean from the center.
Let your scones rest for 5-10 minutes before removing from the skillet. Cut into eight pieces, and wolf them down while still warm. These scones have a delightful crust on the top AND bottom, and the inside is light and springy (thanks, butter!)
I can't wait to serve these for breakfast the next time we have friends over! I think they'd be delightful served with coffee, juice, and bacon on the side.
That's it! Get thee to the grocery store, whip these guys up, and enjoy!