Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deconstructed Stuffed Potatoes from Jerusalem


October is all about tamarind in our Tasting Jerusalem cooking group. Tamarind has quite an exotic appeal and conjures up tropical visions for me. Sure enough, tamarind trees grow in tropical areas and produce pods with an edible fruit pulp.  The pods are available in some markets or you can easily find the dark brown paste on store shelves. Tamarind is popular in Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines and the tart, sour taste can go either sweet or savory.


When perusing the recipes in Jerusalem that contain tamarind paste, I was intrigued by the Stuffed Potatoes. Hollowed out small potatoes are individually stuffed with a well-seasoned meat filling and simmered in a tamarind and tomato sauce. The recipe cautions, though, that it is time consuming and best to have someone help with it. With this in mind, I decided to make a deconstructed version: meatballs simmered in sauce and served over mashed potatoes. This way I could get the benefit of all the delicious flavors in a rustic, homey fashion.


I began by making the sauce. Chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and tamarind pasted simmered away, seasoned with fragrant cumin, paprika and allspice. A dash of crushed red chile added a nice little kick. While the sauce cooked, I made meatballs with ground beef, almond flour, parsley, cinnamon and garlic. The meatballs gently cooked in the flavorful sauce, filling the kitchen with its enticing scent. One of the most comforting sounds is a bubbling pot on the stove!


Once the meatballs were cooked, I spooned them over bowls of mashed potatoes, drenching it all in the rich, brown sauce.  Something about eating mashed potatoes and meatballs is just so soothing and lovely. This cozy dish explodes with spice and taste, the tamarind adding a deep note of flavor. It warmed our bellies while we watched the sun set over the valley, pockets of color from the changing leaves peeking out here and there. Truly one of the most gorgeous Octobers ever!


Deconstructed Stuffed Potatoes
Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Serves 4-6

Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile peppers
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1 28 ounce can tomato puree
1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste
Salt and pepper to taste

Meatballs
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hot mashed potatoes for serving (I mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with olive oil and some of the potato water)

To make the sauce, warm the olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven and add the garlic, onion and carrots. Cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs.  In a mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and gently mix (I use my hands). Scoop out enough of the mixture to make roughly a 2 inch ball. Place in the simmering sauce and repeat until all the meat is used (you should have 12 or so meatballs). Use a spoon to gently move the meatballs around so they are not too crowded and are covered with the sauce. Let cook for about 20 minutes, until the meat is fully cooked.

To serve, scoop some mashed potatoes into a bowl and ladle a couple of meatballs and some sauce over.

16 comments:

  1. I'm so making this. Sounds absolutely delicious and I love your deconstructed version. Saw it in the cookbook and didn't think to do it the way you did. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Suzanne! The flavors are unbelievable - I think you'll enjoy it. It also doubles well if you want to feed a crowd easily. :)

      Delete
  2. Wow Hannah! Gorgeous. I love tamarind. I can usually only get it at Mexican grocery stores. This looks like the ultimate comfort food with a twist of wonderful spices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Amanda! I haven't cooked with tamarind very much, so I'm happy it was our theme for this month's Tasting Jerusalem. And this is definitely a bowl of comfort for a chilly night.

      Delete
  3. What a great idea! I might try it with lentil "meatballs" to keep it vegetarian. I keep meaning to try the tamarind recipes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendy! I love your idea to make lentil meatballs - the tamarind would be lovely with them. Lentils make such a good sub for ground beef. I have a veg pot pie recipe that uses lentils and it's so good. Time to pull it out for these dark months!

      Delete
  4. What a great recipe - I am a big fan of Tamarind and always looking for more ways to use it. Thanks for sharing the picture of Fall at the cabin - I have been thinking about you out there as I watch the leaves turn here and wondering what it was like - breathtaking!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alyssa! The valley has been just stunning with all the vibrant golds and yellows. Photos don't do it justice! I can imagine Seattle is exploding in color - I love the trees around Green Lake at this time.

      Delete
  5. As usual, your creative simplicity blows me away. I am so going to make this - it's a bit like the way I deconstructed the lamb and quince but I think the richness of this will entice my family more. Thanks for another great TJ post Hannah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beth! Yes, very similar to your lamb and quince...you get all the good flavors without nearly the same effort. With quince in season I've been meaning to make your terrific version.

      Delete
  6. I love this recipe! I serve all sorts of stuff over mashed potatoes, including Asian dishes (the flavors work better than you'd think!). This looks terrific. You've given me yet another reason to buy that book! Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll enjoy the book immensely, John! And I love your tip to serve Asian dishes over mashed potatoes, too - I can imagine it's delicious and I'm going to do the same. Any excuse to eat mashed potatoes! :)

      Delete
  7. What a fantastic dinner recipe, sparkling with deep, robust flavor! Your post has me brainstorming about making more creative savory sauces. The autumn photo is lovely Hannah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Deb! Jerusalem has been a very inspiring book and I've had fun discovering new combinations of flavors. This dish is certainly a robust one and ideal for this time of year.

      Delete
  8. Hannah, your take on this dish is simply genius, and I can't wait to give this a try. I know that "meatballs and mash" would be a huge hit around here, and I can just imagine what wonderful flavour that sauce has.

    What an amazing outlook you have from your home over that valley - talk about a killer view :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sue! The sauce really is something - always a treat to cook from Jerusalem. We are enjoying a snowy view now over the valley and loving it.

      Delete