So I've made a rule -- I have to use my cookbooks more. And I'm not allowed to buy any more unless I'm planning on using that one within the week. Which brings us to this month's Monthly Cooking Adventure, affectionately titled "We survived Hurricane Sandy."
Now, really, what better way to celebrate surviving a natural disaster than with comfort food? And, to me, comfort food means Jewish food. I wanted something really celebratory but not tied to any particular holiday. So I bought a new cookbook, Jerusalem: A Cookbook, filled with Palestinian and Jewish recipes from that mythical city. Beautiful photography and evocative spices -- this is one of the most taste-inspiring cookbooks I've ever seen.
So for our Monthly Cooking Adventure, we made two dishes: Stuffed Potatoes and Latkes. Ottolenghi and Tammi stuffed their potatoes with beef but I vegetarianized ours with chickpeas (half I still stuffed with beef). We had some stuffing left over which was delicious fried up as mini veggie (and beef) sliders. Serve over couscous, rice or rustic white bread with a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon.
I'm submitting these to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten Free Fridays.
Stuffed Potatoes in Tomato Sauce
adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 chile colorado, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, ground in a coffee grinder
- 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
- pinch smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
- 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef (or 1 can chickpeas, blitzed in a food processor until crumbly)
- 2 cups cracker crumbs (blitz crackers in a food processor)
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 13 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
In a bowl, combine beef (or chickpeas), cracker crumbs, onion, garlic, parsley, cinnamon, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix them very well, using your hands to make an even paste. The consistency should resemble meatballs or veggie burgers.
Using a teaspoon, hollow out potatoes (this is best done with a friend as it's mindless work but time-consuming), leaving a sturdy enough shell that the stuffing won't escape -- about 2/3-inch thick. Save potato innards for latkes or soup (they're in small enough pieces that you won't have to grate them). Stuff meat (or chickpea) mixture into potatoes, pushing it down so it's packed well and completely fills potato.
Return tomato sauce pan to a low flame and add potatoes, pushing them snugly into the sauce, filling facing upward. You will probably have to squeeze them very close together (or even use two pans). Just make sure they don't overlap. Add water (pour it gently!) to the sauce so that it just reaches the tops of the potatoes but doesn't cover the stuffing. Cover and let cook, simmering, for 1 hour. Remove lid and reduce 5 more minutes. Serve over rice (if desired), garnished with cilantro. Bon appetit!