Monday, November 3, 2008


More than 500 years ago, potatoes were a staple food of the Incas, who cultivated more than 200 varieties. Today, potatoes are eaten worldwide and are one of the world’s most popular cheap food sources. To honor this humble tuber, the United Nations, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has declared 2008 “The International Year of the Potato.”
The potato is the world’s fourth most important food crop, after rice, wheat, and corn (maize), with an annual production of more than 300 million tons. Potatoes are grown in more than 100 countries, from the Andes to northern Europe, and in parts of Russia, China and India.
The Andean people of South America excel in the preparation of a variety of specialties based on the potato. The following is a famous dish from Colombia.

Potatoes with Tomato and Cheese Sauce

This specialty is from the Colombian Andes. The classic sofrito is built into the recipe. We season the dish with herbs and spices and enrich it with white cheese and cream or half-and-half. This sauce is served over boiled potatoes and as an accompaniment for a Colombian specialty called sobrebarriga (oven braised flank steak). It is also great with grilled fish or chicken.

6 medium all-purposed potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (use 1-inch of the green)
1/2 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
1 14-ounce can peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken bouillon
1/2 cup grated mozzarella or Chihuahua cheese

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan with salted water to cover by an inch. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain thoroughly, cover and keep warm.
2. Heat oil in a heavy medium size skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and leek and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cilantro, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until tomatoes have softened to make a sauce, adding a little water if sauce has dried up Add half and half, milk, bouillon, bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add cheese and cook stirring until cheese is melted. If sauce is too thick thin it out with a little bouillon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. To serve, make a cross with a paring knife on top of each potato so it opens a bit, pour sauce over and serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry or fish.
Serves 6


Paulo said...

Gostei tu blog.

Maria Baez Kijac said...

Thank you!