Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Potato Tacos

A few weeks ago, Jack, Spooky, and I visited my family for a long weekend.

The fun never stopped. Friday was Halloween so Mom, Jack, Dad, and I went to the elementary school to watch the costume parade. My twin nieces were dressed as a witch and a vampire; we had a good time looking at all of the costumes displayed from kindergartners through fifth-graders. Afterward, we drove to a farm to buy potatoes. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much—they were potatoes.

We drove for a long while without passing another vehicle, and then (literally at the “end of the road”) turned into a rutted, dirt driveway. For some reason, my Dad knows where all of the obscure farms are located. He went to the back door, knocked, and an old woman came out, wrapping a cardigan around her. She walked across a tractor path and unlocked a door to a large storage shed. We went inside and the woman switched on a trouble-light which was hanging from a rafter.

Potatoes. More than I had ever seen in my life. Probably more than I had ever eaten cumulatively in my life! The ceiling was about 10’ high, the potatoes were piled up close to it in places, and there was an approximately 8' diameter cleared area beside the door to stand in. This photo was taken on the side where they were bagging the potatoes, so they're not piled as high.

Several huge bags were in front of the potato mountain, each filled. Dad bought one 60-pound bag for $12 and Jack lugged it to the car. I asked the woman if they lived on these potatoes all winter. “Oh no,” she replied, “all that will be left by Thanksgiving are what we keep to eat through next year.” Good heavens. Who is buying all of these?

As we could not resist, before we left, Jack and I petted several cats and kittens that were running about.

Now, the way that the potatoes were bought was interesting but, still, I wasn’t prepared for such a different taste. I’m not a big fan of white potatoes, but these were unlike any I have had before. The texture was so smooth and creamy, the potato flavor pronounced, yet subtle. I can’t describe it. But we had mashed potatoes with dinner that evening and they were wonderful!

I have to mention the size of these potatoes. The cost of $12 for 60 pounds were for the bag of ungraded ones, and they certainly were of varying size. The largest ones weighed up to 14 ounces each!

Mom gave me a big bag to take home, and we have had white potatoes more in the past few weeks than we have had all year.

One way that we enjoy potatoes is in, ready for this? Potato tacos. They taste a lot better than they sound! Cubes of boiled potato are browned in a skillet with onions, chunks of zucchini, and roasted poblano pepper; then a green tomatillo sauce is poured over all and the mixture is simmered and stirred until the flavors are mingled and the sauce has darkened. Served in steamed corn tortillas with cheese, these are simple and delicious. And uses a lot of potatoes!

I have been making these tacos for years and years, but only this time decided to streamline the prep a bit by using a jar of Trader Joe’s salsa verde instead making my own by cooking and pureeing tomatillos with onion, garlic, and jalapenos. This certainly was easier, and I didn’t notice a huge difference in taste.

In addition to tasting better than they sound, potato tacos taste better that they look in this photo!

I was too anxious to eat and had the camera on a wrong setting for the light conditions...

* Exported from MasterCook *

Potato Tacos

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 pounds white potatoes -- scrubbed, unpeeled, halved if large
2 cups onion -- sliced vertically
12 ounces zucchini -- 3/4" dice
4 large poblano peppers -- roasted, peeled, diced 1/2"
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
24 ounces Trader Joe's salsa verde
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth -- boiling
6 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese -- shredded
24 whole corn tortillas -- warmed

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add about 3" of water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium, keep covered, and cook just until tender. Drain, cool, then cut into 3/4" dice.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, drizzle in a teaspoon of canola oil, turn the heat up a bit, and when hot add the salsa (it will sizzle and splatter-- beware!). Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and continue to cook over a medium-high flame for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened a bit. Remove from heat and cool.

NOTE: The previous 2 steps can be done ahead of time and kept a room temp for a couple of hours, or refrigerated longer.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and fry for about 5 minutes or until they start to brown a little, stir often to prevent sticking. Add the onions and continue to fry for 3 minutes, then add the zucchini and fry, stirring often, for 5 more minutes. Add the chopped poblanos, turn the heat to medium, and stir in the sauce. Cook, stirring gently from the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and darkened. Remove to a covered serving dish.

Warm corn tortillas and place on table along with the potatoes and shredded cheese. Spoon potato mixture into the individual tortillas, sprinkle with cheese, and fold.

If desired, hot sauce may be added before folding the tortillas over, but check the hotness of the poblanos first!

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Per serving: 435 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (11% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 76g Carbohydrate; 6mg Cholesterol; 1490mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

I love my big ol' hard-anodized saute pan, but if you are using nonstick skillets and pans, increase the oil in the recipe or add a coating of cooking spray.


Laura said...

Funny you should have written about this--I have recently made a keema with local potatoes and another dish also (but it was a week or so back and which it one is eluding me at the moment) and I too was wowed by the taste.

I tried a potato taco filling once and was un-wowed but maybe I will give yours a shot. Seeing as I love potatoes, tacos and Mexican food you would have thought I would have liked it!

Vicci said...

Laura, I'm fairly certain that I copied the keema recipe from your site... I'll have to check.