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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

slow roast new potatoes with tomato and paprika

Before I saw how it was done on BBC's Gardener's World, I never thought planting and harvesting your own potato is sooooo easy. I thought it would be like farming rice, you need at least an acre. But Monty Don who used to head the show a few seasons back actually showed you can even grow good potatoes in a pot using the ones you got from the supermarket!
WE usually end up recycling our old potatoes in the green bin. But a few months ago, I decided let's try growing all these old ones in a small patch on the right side of our house. I think I must have planted five potatoes... and yesterday, we dug out these babies!!!

There were more but it had the green things in them so we chucked those. I am quite happy to report I got about 3 kgs of potatoes. Not bad from 5 potatoes that would have ended up in the green bin eh? I am growing some more though, I think Monty Don has created a monster.My favourite way to cook new potatoes is very simple. I like to roast them slowly. I just scrub them clean without removing them skin, place them in a roasting tray with some vine tomatoes (also from the garden) and throw in some hard herbs like rosemary, lemon thyme and oregano and add some garlic, Maldon salt and crushed black pepper. We roasted some koftas yesterday and I used the same tray with beef drippings in them. It is good to do this at night when it is not so hot in the kitchen. Slow roasting would release the sugar from both the potatoes and tomatoes to caramelise slowly. I made this for dinner so I roasted them only for an hour at 100C, just enough to begin the slow roasting process without really drying the tomatoes and potatoes out. Today, I added a few pieces of chicken thighs to roast on top of the potato and tomato bed, further increasing the temperature to 150C and roasting them together for another hour. The result was sensational. The chicken were luscious and tender but almost taste like a side dish to the real star - the potaotes and tomatoes. I also love the mushy texture you get from mashing them together on the plate. The sauce that was created in the process were then poured into the chicken, potato and tomato. I can't even begin to explain how sublime the sauce was. Every flavour in the tray was represented and respected and they were all married to create a sweet sour, caramelised, toasted sensation. It was a very simple and rustic dinner put together very quickly using produce from our own backyard but the results made me feel a superstar!

PS: serve this at your dinner parties. It looks like you spent all day tending to them in the kitchen when they actually cooked themselves - giving you all the time to spend on yourself ;-)