Spicy Potatoes and Peas

by abbamoses

Recently we found ourselves with a lot of potatoes in the house, so let’s enjoy them, shall we?
This is a generalization of an Arthur Schwartz recipe, from his What to Cook: When You Think There’s Nothing in the House to Eat, which I’ve praised before and am happy to praise again.

The general idea is this:
• In a pot, make a spicy tomato sauce;
• Cook some sliced potatoes in the sauce;
• Add some frozen peas at the end, cook them just enough.

Here are the details for this very simple, tasty meal:

In a decent-sized saucepan, heat several tablespoons of oil. Add:
• 1 Tablespoon chopped ginger;
• 1 onion, finely chopped;
• 2 Tablespoons curry powder;
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or a generous squirt of Sriracha sauce;
• A couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped.

If you’re in a really big hurry, the onion and garlic could be skipped.

Let this sizzle at medium heat until the onion is transparent. Or, turn the heat down and cook it very gently unti the onion is nice and brown.

Make a tomato sauce, in one of several ways:
• Add a couple of Tablespoons of tomato paste and maybe 1 1/2 cups of water, mix well; OR
• Add a large can of tomatoes and simmer until it’s broken down into a sauce-like consistency; OR
• Add about 1 1/2 cups of bottled spaghetti sauce.

Let the sauce simmer gently.
While it’s simmering, cut up about 4 medium-sized potatoes into sticks, about the shape of fat french fries.

Throw the potatoes into the sauce, put a lid on the pot, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add about 2 cups of frozen peas, or one whole 10-ounce package. Cover and return to a simmer. Cook just until the peas are tender, no more than a minute.

Serve! If you have it, you can top with fresh chopped parsley or mint. If you’ve done this right, it won’t be one big pot of (tasty!) mush, but a pretty bowl of potato sticks and bright green peas in a red tomato sauce. Mmmmmm…

Are potatoes evil? Some “experts” say that potatoes, along with white rice and white flour, are harmful because they have a high glycemic index. (They can’t say that potatoes are highly processed, can they?) I’m not so sure about this glycemic index business. The people of southeast Asia subsist on white rice (bad, supposedly) with various toppings, and you’d have to travel far to find a fat or diabetic person in some Burmese village. So, for now, we follow the age-old advice to eat sparingly or inexpensive, close-to-the-earth foods — such as potatoes.

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