Recipe: Mildly Courageous Potatoes

(NB: still no idea what’s happening with shifting web-hosting, which is making me reluctant to post much here just now, in case I hit exactly the wrong window and it all gets deleted. Sorry.  I had no idea it would be this complicated / confusing.  On the bright side, my music blog is getting extra posts as a result – all this writing has to go *somewhere*.)

There’s a Spanish recipe for potatoes cooked with a spicy, tomatoey sort of sauce called Patatas Bravas.  Roughly translated, this means Bold Potatoes.  I’ve never been nearer to Spain than a slightly dodgy Spanish restaurant many years ago, so I can’t claim to know what the original variety tastes like, but I’ve seen a few recipes for these potatoes around the place.

Trouble is, I’m a wimp when it comes to chilli.  I’m better than I was, but a lot of chilli in a dish tends to take all the fun out of it for me.  As a result, most Patatas Bravas are far too bold for me – hence this gentler, more quietly courageous version of the recipe.  You can, of course, chilli it all up again if that takes your fancy, but I rather like tasting all the flavours without being overwhelmed by chilli heat.  Also, sweet potatoes make everything better (and better for you), which is always a bonus.  Give it a try!

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olive oil
400 g potatoes
400 g sweet potatoes
1 red onion
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground chilli
1/2 – 1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of saffron
salt, pepper
2 capsicums, preferably in two different colours
2 cloves garlic
400 g tinned tomatoes

Now what will you do with it?

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Peel the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks about 1 cm thick and two 1cm wide.  In a large, stove-top friendly baking dish (metal) or skillet if you don’t have a suitable baking dish, heat the oil, add the potatoes and sweet potatoes and sauté to brown a little.

Roughly chop the onion and add it to the potatoes, along with the spices and seasonings.  Keep sautéing over a moderate heat while you chop and add the capsicums and garlic.  Stir everything around a bit, until the onion softens.

Add the tinned tomatoes in their juices, and stir everything to distribute.  Pop into the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through and a bit crusty, turning half-way through the cooking time.



This dish is vegan, gluten-free, and relatively low-GI (yay, sweet potatoes!), though the onions and capsicums and such make it not especially low-fructose.  If you were a carnivore, though, you could start by sautéing up some chopped chorizo, and use the rendered fat to brown the potatoes at the start.  Yum.

Otherwise, you could replace the smoked paprika with plain paprika or add chipotle pepper – and blast it, why did I only just remember I had chipotle pepper in the pantry? Missed opportunity!  – and herbs like thyme or oregano would also go nicely here.  Obviously, you could use all potato or all sweet potato if you liked (the latter would make it nicely low-GI, but less authentic, of course).

If you wanted to make this into a meal rather than a side dish, I think a tin of drained chickpeas added towards the end of the cooking time would be a step in the right direction.  If you were a fish eater, I suspect you could add a few fish fillets to the dish towards the end of cooking time and let them bake until done (I’m not even going to attempt to give times for this – for one thing, it’s dependent on the fish, for another, I rarely cook fish and claim no expertise in the matter).   I, personally, would add chickpeas *and* chorizo, but that’s just me.  Tonight, we are having it very incongruously with chicken baked in yoghurt with Greek herbs, but you see, I was at the supermarket and thinking about potatoes and the need for some more vegetables in this meal and then I thought of the phrase ‘mildly courageous potatoes’ and this amused me so much I had to design some.

Of such stuff blog posts are born…


This time last year…

Recipe: Oma’s Gingerbread

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4 comments for “Recipe: Mildly Courageous Potatoes

  1. October 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    When I saw the title of this post I wasn’t quite sure what these potatoes were going to be, haha. I suppose patatas bravas does sound a bit like ‘brave potatoes’ now that I think about it but I’d never picked up on it before.

    I recently shifted hosts as well – a right pain in the rear it was. Thank goodness for support staff!

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      I just liked the pun, honestly. Though I’ve just checked the Spanish and I did mis-speak, apparently, because ‘brava’ seems to be more about fighting. So perhaps ‘somewhat belligerent potatoes’ would have been more accurate. Really, the fun just never stops…

      I just don’t like the waiting and wondering when it’s all going to move. Or whether I will be able to tell when it has all moved, for that matter…

  2. Katrina
    October 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

    This sounds really good – yet another recipe to add to my list of things to try when I get around to it.

    • Catherine
      October 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      It was really yummy, yes, and very simple to make (though a little bolder than I intended). How’s England treating you?

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