We succumbed to the romanticism of Spain, for sure, even before we got to spend a month there 10 years ago (a very telling 10 years as we suspected halfway through our trip that we were pregnant – ‘my baby loves this Spanish wine!’, ‘my baby loves morcilla!’) – we read Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons, too. A travelogue about one of the early Genesis members heading off to Andalusia to raise sheep (and buying – maybe sight unseen? something we would likely do – a ramshackle farm with no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and no road directly to the house) whose cantankerous neighbor makes this meal for him.
Don’t make this a dish of perfection – the charm is in the raw simplicity. Hack the vegetables into chunks (but not so much you chop off a finger – ‘carefully’ hack), whole unpeeled garlic cloves – think camp style cooking (in fact, we have made it camping).
This dish is best served with a big cold cooked ham you can just saw chunks off of, a bowl of olives, some crusty bread, and lovely bottle of Spanish wine – if you really want to push this simple decadence over the edge, get a chunk of Tetilla cheese, too. This is sometimes one of our favorite anniversary meals (as it is pretty pricey to get a nitrate-free ham, we only do it once a year, and it’s worth it) – no dishes, just forks and wine glasses, a cast-iron pan, serving platter. Put on some Flamenco music, hang out by the fire (whether inside or outside – doesn’t matter)!
Patatas a lo Pobre
Serves 4 with Ham, 2 without
1/3 cup Spanish Olive Oil
4 medium Potatoes (about 1.5 pounds), peeled/unpeeled – up to you, cut into 2″ish chunks
1 large Onion, cut into chunks
head of Garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 Red and Green peppers, cut into large thick strips or chunks
Sea Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper
Heat a deep (preferably cast iron/what the old ladies call ‘spider’) frying-pan over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion chunks.
Add the garlic cloves. Add the potatoes. Add peppers. Stir gently, add generous pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Let the vegetables cook until the potatoes are tender, about 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in Pan. Alongside other goodies and relax.
Practice your Spanish.