This is it, I suppose! At this time of social distancing (and, yes, there is a pandemic going on and yes, if you are not social distancing as much as you can and making light of all this you are in self-denial; and yes, if you think that COVID-19 cases will magically disappear by Easter you are in double self-denial) it is time to get creative with things you may have in your pantry and things you may be able to get from your grocery store.
So, for the next few months what you’ll get here are recipes that are super simple, mostly one pot, and include ingredients like rice, beans, potatoes, carrots, corn, onions… We are back to basics here, like this Italian cuisine inspired Rice and Beans I shared last week!
I will also keep thing brief and to the point. More cooking, less talking! So, here we go: this week I am sharing a wonderful dish that is really all about potatoes. All you need is some onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes and coconut milk or cream. And if you don’t have coconut milk on hand, your can use coconut oil, or a bit of butter (vegan, if you are vegan, or any other kind if you are not – I am totally non-judgmental of people and their food choices and I hope all can just enjoy the meal) and some milk or cream (again: which kind is up to you). The main point of adding coconut milk is to create a rich stew that’s smooth, silky and dense – something that will fill you up and provide some good old comfort in a bowl.
What makes this dish pop are spices! In this case we will be using curry powder and garam masala, two spices I recommend having on hand at all times! (I’m fresh out of curry powder, so that may be a spot of bother to be honest). If you don’t have these, you may want to add a bit of cumin powder and a bit of paprika, or just a bit of nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon, or a dash of allspice. Any combination of these may work depending on your individual preferences, so if you are improvising the best advice I can give you is to follow your nose!
Lastly, I recommend using a heavy pot for this. My go-to is a Dutch oven, but any heavy pot will do. Take care, eat well, pamper yourself and stay well!
Curried Potato Stew
What you’ll need:
- 4-5 large potatoes (I prefer Russet, but any more starchy variety will do), washed, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- 4 large carrots, washed and sliced into carrots rings (if you have a 8+ year old kid who needs something to do during this period of no school they can help chop potatoes and carrots)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 13.5 – 14 oz (about 400 ml) can coconut milk or cream (alternatively, 1 cup of cream, or 1 cup of milk plus 2 tablespoons of butter will work)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- water – enough to deglaze the pan (see step one below) and cover your vegetables (step 3)
- optional toppings – freshly chopped cilantro or parsley, freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (or if lemons or limes are not within an easy reach you may want to add a small amount of clear vinegar (red wine, apple cider, white or rice will all work here, not sure about balsamic), and a drop or two of hot sauce
What you’ll do:
- Place your heavy pot over the high heat and add your onions, carrots and garlic to the pot. You may use some oil if you are using, but you don’t really need to. You will be adding lots of fat later (with all that coconut milk/cream or milk/cream/butter alternatives). Stir frequently to prevent veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add some water (in 1/4 cup increments or so) to deglaze the bottom from time to time. Brown the vegetables for about 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, coconut milk (or alternatives) and spices. Mix well and let cook like this with frequent stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables well, bring to boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked through. The exact time will depend on how finely you’ve chopped your vegetables!
- Once the veggies are cooked, use a stick blender to blend approximately half of the pot into a smooth, silky mix (you can also use a blender to do this, or even your potato masher).
- Serve hot in a bowl, topped with any, all or none of the topping listed above. Enjoy!
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