Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Potato Stew--yum!

I am, for the most part, a vegetarian.
And I love potato soup.
Recipes often add leeks, or carrots, but this is the first time it's so unadorned yet full of flavor.
This dish is called Locro de Papas, or Potato Stew.

I saw it made on a recent episode of Gourmet Magazine's Diary of a Foodie.
Watch a clip of the episode here.

I live so close to Mexico's border that I was able to purchase annatto seeds in my local supermarket.
If you can't find them in the Latin section of your store, or at a tiendita (Mexican grocer), I'm sure you can find them online (I know they're on Amazon).
The seeds are used to flavor and color the oil, so when the oil is added to the potatoes, the result is a wonderful orange hue.

Honestly, the avocado is essential. Who knew this combination could be so amazing?!

Locro de Papas
This traditional Andean soup, warm with potatoes, milk, and cheese and bright with cumin and avocado, may be the ultimate comfort food.
2 teaspoons annatto (achiote) seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 1/2 lb russet (baking) potatoes
1 cup chopped white onion
Rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
7 cups water
1 cup whole milk
5 1/2 oz queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) or ricotta salata, coarsely grated (1 1/4 cups)
2 (6- to 7-oz) firm-ripe avocados
Heat annatto seeds and oil in a very small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan frequently, until oil is bright red-orange and starts to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.
Pour annatto oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, discarding solids. Cook onion and half of potatoes (reserve remaining potatoes in a bowl of cold water) in annatto oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add water (7 cups) and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes, then mash into broth. Drain remaining potatoes and add to stew, then simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in milk and cheese and increase heat to high, then bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit, peel, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Serve stew in large soup bowls, topped with avocado.

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Blogger Patty said...

That sounds really good!

12:07 AM  
Blogger The Calico Cat said...

Sounds good - Annatto seeds at "hispanic" grocery stores? (I know we have a lot of Central/South Americans in this area...)

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm pretty much an Omniverous eater, but this looks too good to pass up. I think it goes into the pot tomorrow night.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barb: With a few variations in recipe we made this last night. It was to die for! It goes into the regular rotation of meals. Thanks for the tip.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Vallen said...

Yes, please.

11:27 AM  

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