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Potato and Poblano pepper dip

January 27, 2013

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The most common use of potatoes in Tex-Mex cuisine is I believe “papas con huevo” (potatoes with egg),  with chorizo added as an option.  This combination is also used as a delicious taco filling for breakfast.   Using potatoes in a dip or spread to be scooped up with tostadas is a different  way to serve them.  I wonder why I’ve never come across this concept  in Mexican or Tex-Mex fare.  I flavored  the potato with fire-roasted Poblano pepper, garlic, good quality olive oil,  and sour cream. You might ask what the difference is between mashed potatoes and a potato dip.   Not too much ,  but here, the Russet potato serves as a backdrop to the intense flavors of the other ingredients. It’s a simple recipe,  but all 5 flavors shine if used in the right proportion.  The tostada or fried corn tortilla adds  balance with its crunch and flavor.

 

This recipe serves 2 people

One large Russett potato (almost a pound in weight)

1 Poblano pepper

2 or 3 peeled garlic cloves depending on your preference

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons sour cream

salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

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Put the potato (peel on) in a pan with enough water to cover.  (Cooking potatoes “in their jackets” retains more potato flavor than peeling and cutting beforehand).  Bring to boil then immediately lower to medium heat to bring it to a heavy simmer.  Do not overcook.

While the potato is cooking,  fire-roast the pepper.  Place it over a medium fire on your stove top to blackened the peel. Use a metal kitchen tong to rotate the potato and evenly blacken the entire surface. When ready, put it in a small container or bowl and cover with plastic a few minutes.  This will help release the skin.  Scrape off the charred peel with a knife but do not throw it away as it will make a nice addition to the dip.  Cut open the pepper and remove the seeds and stem.  Dice the pepper into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice.

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Smash the garlic cloves and give them a rough chop.  Place the garlic and  diced pepper in a molcajete (mortar and pestle) and mash together to release flavors.  It needn’t be taken to the level of a paste.  The chunks add  texture to the dip.

The potato is ready when a knife slides in with not too much resistance.  Take it out of the water and let it cool until you can handle it.  Or use the metal tongs to hold it while you scrape off the peel with a knife.  Leave a little of the peel if you want a more rustic look to the dip.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the garlic pepper mixture and potato in a mixing bowl. Add as much of the blackened peel as you want.  The charred flavor adds beautifully pronounced  flavor and character.  Mash the ingredients together with a fork.  It’s ok to leave it a little chunky. I think its much better than a pureed texture. Add the sour cream and olive oil to incorporate well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  It will taste fine though it will likely have cooled down by now.  Put the dip in an oven-proof dish or skillet and drizzle with more of the olive oil.  Heat in the oven until hot.  Use the broiler if you have one and heat until a  lightly brown crust develops.  Some possible garnishes are queso fresco or other cheese,  roasted red bell pepper, fresh cilantro or basil,  toasted pine nuts, or crumbled cooked bacon.   Serve with fried corn or flour tortilla chips.

One thing I discovered during the test runs is to make the dip soon after the potato is done.  Putting it away in the refrigerator  to chill too long before using will result in a gooey dip.

Feel free to vary the amounts of the ingredients to your taste.

I think it would also make a good enchilada filling.

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