This recipe for patatas a lo pobre, or poor man’s potatoes, is simple and really easy to make but full of flavour and textures. A traditional Spanish tapa recipe, this dish also makes a great light lunch or side.
Usually fried in a copious amount of oil, my poor man’s potatoes recipe is lightened up by steaming the potatoes in vegetable stock then flavouring them with smoked Spanish paprika, red wine vinegar and fresh herbs.
Poor man’s potatoes is one of those recipes that starts off simple, but can be tweaked and added to in innumerable ways. Most basic recipes call for potatoes, green pepper, onion and oil. Lots of oil.
I’ve seen recipes that call for more than a cup of olive oil so if you don’t live in an olive oil producing country, these would be more appropriately titled rich man’s potatoes. Or fat man’s potatoes.
My spin on poor man’s potatoes is to do them almost oil-free. I’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce my consumption of oil after reading The China Study.
The authors recommend minimizing intake of added vegetable oils – including olive oil, which seems to fly in the face of everything we’ve been told about the Mediterranean diet being so healthy because of olive oil.
Long story short, the myth of the Mediterranean diet stems from research in the 1960s which found that people on the island of Crete, who ate a primarily vegetarian diet with small amounts of fish and olive oil, were exceptionally healthy.
The media latched onto the idea that olive oil was good for your heart (I guess it’s easier to convince consumers to switch from vegetable to olive oil rather than to adopt a plant-based diet).
Later research has since found that olive oil does not have heart-protecting qualities and the people of Crete were healthy because of their nearly vegetarian diet in spite of the olive oil rather than because of it.
To be honest, however, I don’t think I could ever give up oil completely. Indian food is some of my favorite and many dishes start by infusing oil with a mix of spices (like in this yellow lentil dal recipe).
I’d have to get pretty creative to get the same kinds of flavours from an oil-free recipe so maybe I’ll keep my tempered spices for now and try to reduce the oil in dishes where it’s totally unnecessary like these Spanish poor man’s potatoes!
Rather than cook my poor man’s potatoes in a cup of oil, I simmered them in a quarter cup of vegetable stock, tossed in a selection of Mediterranean fruits and sprinkled them with paprika. Man, are they ever tasty!
- 500 grams (1.1 pound) baby potatoes, halved (I didn’t peel them)
- ¼ cup vegetable stock
- 10 pearl onions, peeled and halved
- 5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and smashed with the side of your knife
- Half a green pepper, sliced into strips
- 4 or 5 artichoke hearts, quartered
- 4 or 5 sundried tomatoes, sliced
- 20 – 25 olives, black and/or green (I didn’t bother to pit them)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (shouldn’t be spicy)
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or basil or cilantro
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and parboil the potatoes for about 10 minutes.
- Drain and transfer, cut side down, to a large frying pan over low heat. Pour in the vegetable stock and tuck the pearl onions and garlic cloves between the potatoes. Sprinkle over the green pepper, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook until the potatoes, onions and peppers are softened through – about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the paprika, red wine vinegar and chopped herb of your choice. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from My Goodness Kitchen
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 791mg Carbohydrates: 41g Fiber: 8g Sugar: 5g Protein: 6g