Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stuffed Potatoes

Stuffed Potatoes
Recipe Adapted from: Jerusalem A Cookbook


    For The Tomato Sauce

  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 120 grams Onion, finely diced
  • 80 grams Celery, finely diced
  • 70 grams Carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small Red or Green Chile

  • 1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Sweet Paprika
  • Pinch Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Caraway seeds, ground
  • 28 oz. Can Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Tamarind Paste
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Sugar

  • For The Potato Stuffing

  • 500 grams Ground Beef
  • 200 grams Coarse Bread Crumbs
  • 120 Grams Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 20 Grams Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1.5 Kg. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, halved, and cored
  • 2 Tbs Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Clean and dice the vegetables and herbs for both the sauce and stuffing and measure out the spices. If you're using canned whole tomatoes, empty them into a bowl and crush them. Having everything ready before you start to cook will make everything much easier.
  2. Over medium heat warm the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold the potatoes in one layer.
  3. Add the sauce vegetables and saute until they are softened, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the sauce spices and cook for a few minutes more until the mixture is very fragrant. Be careful not to allow the mixture to scorch.
  5. Carefully add the tomatoes, tamarind paste, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. 
  6. Brink the mixture to a boil, stirring, taste for seasoning, and set aside, off the heat.
  7. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, cinnamon, eggs, 1 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  8. Mix with your hands until the ingredients are well combined.

  9. Peel and halve the potatoes, then core them using a melon baller. Reserve the scraps for another use. (Submerged in water, they'll keep in the refrigerator overnight.)
  10. Stuff the mixture into the potatoes, ensuring it is well packed, leaving no spaces.

  11. As each potato is stuffed settle it into the tomato sauce.

  12. When all the potatoes are in place, add a little water to bring the liquid almost to the top of the stuffing.
  13. Bring the whole thing to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 60-90 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked and soft.
  14. Allow to cool slightly before serving, sprinkled with the chopped cilantro.

It's a little hard to believe, but this recipe is only a little harder than making meatloaf. The only slightly exotic ingredient is the tamarind past and even that's available almost everywhere.

Obviously, this recipe makes a lot. The saute pan I used could only hold a little more than 2 pounds of potatoes. As a result I had about a third of the stuffing left over. It's in the freezer for now and will probably turn into a braised meatloaf in a week or so.

The Saucepan: The pan in the pictures worked fine but even at a low simmer there was a more or less constant drip onto the stove top. It would have been a huge mess on a gas range. Next time I'll make it in a deep "dutch oven".

Potatoes: You really do have to use Yukon Gold or a similar waxy potato. Starchy types like your regular russet baking potato will fall apart during the long simmer.

Vegetables: Dice 'em much finer than I did.  The ones in the pictures are a bit on the rustic side. They're fine in the sauce, but they're hard to mix evenly with the ground beef and bread crumbs.

Bread Crumbs: Do not under any circumstances even consider using the ones that come in a can or bag. Just grab a loaf of crusty bread when you're buying the rest of the ingredients and make then yourself. You can easily save stale bread in the freezer and when you have a bunch of chunks just toss them in the food processor, pop the crumbs in a low oven for a few minutes to dry them out and then refreeze.

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