Pipérade, or piperrada as it is known in Spain, is a flavorful stew made from peppers, tomatoes, and onions slow-cooked in olive oil. Classically, it always included beaten eggs that were cooked in the vegetable mixture. Often a thick slice of Jambon de Bayonne, a slightly sweet, air-cured ham similar to prosciutto, was fried and served over the top. Nowadays, it has become a more foundational element; often appearing in many different guises and cusines.
At the risk of sounding like Forrest Gump, you can eat pipérade alone as a vegetable side; with fish braised inside; eaten cold on crusty toasted baguettes; slow-cooked with roasted chicken, or even as a fantastic easy to serve brunch dish with farm fresh eggs into it and baked. Here are some of my favorite simple preparations that use piperade as the foundation. My advice is to start with the basic piperade recipe then tweak it to suit your tastes. I often add a healthy spoonful of Piment d’Ville, an Espelette pepper grown in Northern California.
A flavorful stew of peppers, tomatoes, and onions slow-cooked together in olive oil.
- 2 tbsp olive oil or pork fat
- 2 sweet onions peeled, sliced thickly
- 4 cloves garlic mashed
- 2 tsp herbes de Provence
- 6 bell peppers thickly sliced
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes pureed in blender
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large, ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until hot. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 5 10 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence, bell peppers, paprika, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the peppers soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Put in oven and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until everything is fully cooked and soft.
Three Variations on a Theme
Pipérade will become a great game-changer in your home. Especially if you enjoy healthy flavorful food that is simple and quick to prepare. Start with these three easy dishes, then try your own variations. Be sure to tag us at #SimpleFrenchCooking so we see what you came up with.
Recipe 1: Chicken Basquaise
This chicken dish is incredibly popular throughout France and will become a staple in your home as well. Braising it in piperade keeps the chicken incredibly juicy and tastes as good when served cold as it does warm. One of my favorite variations of Chicken Basquaise is to add a pinch of saffron, two cups of chicken stock, and 1 pound of Spanish chorizo cut into large pieces into the braise. It transforms the dish into much more of a soup/stew hybrid that will delight your family.
Poulet Basquaise, Chicken Basque Style
Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onions
- 1 chicken. 3 to 4 pounds cut into 8 pieces
- sea salt and pepper see notes
- 2 tsp herbes de Provence see notes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F
Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Heat the olive oil until almost smoking in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces skin-side down and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brown the other side, about 5 minutes longer. You may have to work in two batches to not overcrowd the pan. Remove chicken and discard any excess olive oil.
Add the piperade and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, cover with the lid, and cook in your oven for 45 minutes, or until fully cooked.
Serve the chicken with something starchy like rice or even noodles to soak up all the flavorful juices.
Recipe 2; Baked Codfish
This is the perfect dish for someone who thinks they don’t like fish. Cod and piperade are a natural combination that works incredibly well together. I made this dish with wild-caught Columbia River sturgeon this past weekend to equal results. It is best to use a meaty fish that can stand up to braising. Try cooking mussels, clams, shrimp, and even slices of Spanish chorizo alongside the fish.
Cod Baked in Piperade
Cod baked in a flavorful stew of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
- 1 recipe piperade
- 1.5 pounds cod cut into four 6-ounce portions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring the piperade to a simmer over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Press the codfish into the piperade, cover with the lid, and braise in your oven for 30 minutes, or until flaky and fully cooked.
Serve the cod in your Dutch oven straight from the oven with a bowl of rice pilaf or roasted potatoes.
Recipe 3: Eggs simmered in Piperade
Cooking eggs in piperade is perhaps my favorite way to enjoy this classic dish. I must admit, I like cooking the eggs in three different ways. The first being the traditional method: 8 eggs stirred into hot piperade and served scrambled with toast and grilled ham. The second variation is to warm piperade with 8 ounces of either Jamón or Spanish chorizo cut into thick slices (substitute prosciutto if the Spanish ham is not available) in a skillet, then pour 8 beaten eggs over and bake in a 400-degree oven until eggs are set and fully cooked, about 10 minutes. The easiest variation is to cook eggs sunny side up and serve on top of warmed piperade with slices of buttered toast.
A Few Favorite Recipes From Around the Globe
Piperrada de Bacalao (Salt Cod cooked with Piperade)