Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crainquebille Potatoes – a tummy hug like no other!

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Crainquebille Potatoes - a saucy little side
We are turning our culinary backs on the potato. In Ireland and the UK, pasta and rice are replacing the spud as the national carbohydrates. Some of the reasons offered are “too much work”,can’t do a whole lot with them”, “the family don’t like ‘em

Too much work... Depending on the dish you choose, potatoes can be very quick or take hours to cook, but often the actual preparation time is minutes.

Can’t do a whole lot with them... Oh Ye of Limited Imagination!

The family don’t like ‘em... Related to the two reasons above. If you can’t be bothered to spend a few minutes preparing them and have absolutely no imagination beyond mash, mash and more mash, the family are probably sick to death of ‘em.
Potatoes can give you a tummy hug that you just cannot get from other carbs. Smooth, buttery mash is the ultimate comfort food but what a range of dishes you can make! Tartiflette... Tortilla Española  ... Patatas Bravas... Boxty... Pandy... the most amazing chocolate cakes, bars and truffles...  chips... Pommes Anna... Gratin Dauphinoise... Boulangère... I must have at least a thousand potato recipes on my shelves.

Crainquebille Potatoes are a side dish I love to serve with roasts and while the Gruyère topping is non-traditional, I think it adds to the dish.
Potatoes are social vegetables - often seen in the company of garlic, herbs and other party vegetables
For 6 servings you will need...

50g butter
2 onions (each the size of a tennis ball) roughly chopped
500g potatoes (prepared weight), diced into 2cm cubes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
250mls good quality chicken stock

100g fresh breadcrumbs
50g Gruyère cheese, grated

Potoates, tomatoes, herbs, crunchy breadcrumbs, melted cheese = tummy hug

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C
1                 Melt the butter in a medium sauce over a medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook without colouring for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
2                 Add the diced potatoes, herbs, garlic and chopped tomatoes, salt and black pepper and stir until well combined. Transfer to an oven proof dish, approximately 21cm x 21cm (8½” x 8½”) and 6cm (2½”) deep. Add the stock. It should barely cover the potatoes.
3                 Transfer to the preheated oven and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes. Then, turn down the heat to 180°C and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
4                 Remove from the oven and sprinkle with an even layer of breadcrumbs. Finally, sprinkle with Gruyère and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Mmmmmmm.

If like me, you love potatoes, here are two more of my favourite potato recipes...
"In a moment of madness brought on by a rare glimpse of blue sky and sunshine, I went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. The water was wild and breathtakingly cold, so when I say “swimming” I really mean a vigorous flailing of limbs in the direction of the shore, the main purpose of which was to avoid being swept out of the gorgeous little bay, next stop America.

There is only one dish to help the post-swim thawing process – a dish well known to skiers – and one which caused me a little anxiety - Tartiflette.

‘Patatas Bravas’ with Garlic Mayonnaise – Aioli! Ole!

“Growing potatoes couldn't be easier. Pop seed potato in ground, cover with earth, and forget for several months. ..Today, I am going to celebrate the crop Spanish–style, with Patatas Bravas, a tapas dish I first tasted in Barcelona. Crispy potato chunks are topped with a ‘fierce’ tomato sauce and a cool aioli (garlic mayo) on the side. It is traditional to have a chilled glass of wine or beer ready to quench the chilli heat.” Pin It