From Scratch: Papas chorreadas will spice up your spuds

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

Childhood food memories take many different forms. Marcel Proust waxed nostalgic for seven paragraphs about the taste of a madeleine. My friend Marg has different memories. With both parents working, it was her job every night to peel potatoes for her family of seven. Seven days a week it was peel, boil, mash. Needless to say, they won’t be a feature of any memoir she writes.

In 2015, Americans reportedly ate 115 pounds of potatoes per person. That might seem like a lot of peeling, but of that amount, only 34 pounds were fresh potatoes. The remainder was eaten in the form of frozen french fries or potato chips.

Although potatoes are considered America’s most popular vegetable, Europeans eat twice as many spuds as Americans.

When home cooks in the United States stare down a bag of the humble tubers, the question is often whether to bake or mash them. In the Andes region of South America, the choices are more varied. With more than 4,500 varieties, the potato reigns supreme. With more Vitamin C than an apple and more potassium than a banana, the potato is not only a staple of the region but also a highly prized tuber.

Papas chorreadas is a typical dish from the highlands of Colombia. It is essentially a potato dish with a cream and tomato sauce folded in. In Spanish, the verb “chorrear” means to flow, characterizing the rich sauce coating the potatoes.

Although not traditional, I added some green beans for color contrast.

If you are looking for a different way to dress up your spuds, give this South American dish a try.

Papas Chorreadas

8 medium red potatoes, washed and scrubbed

1/4 pound green beans

3 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

4 scallions with tops, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon chopped dried hot red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch of ground cumin

Pinch of oregano

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the potatoes until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Cook the green beans in boiling, salted water 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

In a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet, melt the butter and saute the garlic, scallions and onion until soft. Add the potatoes to the skillet and stir over medium heat until the slices are coated with the butter mixture on both sides. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, salt, coriander, cumin and oregano. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the cream and reduce the heat. Add the green beans and cook 6 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese and place under the broiler until cheese melts. Serve topped with chopped parsley.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.