May 20, 2023 – Published in Design & Decor Spring-Summer 2023 issue
Spring back into the kitchen
Words: Ljuana Xuereb
As longer days and warmer weather returns, so does the urge to spend time outdoors, entertaining at home and enjoying fresh, light meals. Here are some ideas to try out, be it picnic ideas like the smoked beetroot puree, an elegant fish tartare starter for that special evening with friends or something sweet to curb those cravings! Enjoy!
Originally inspired by a very popular dish hailing from the Maghreb regions called M’battane, these potato pouches with an aromatic minced meat filling are little heavenly bites. Served as part of a sharing feast with spicy tomato sauce on the side or why not try making them smaller and serving them as party food. They are time consuming to make but well worth the effort.
Yields 12 pieces
Prep. time: 45 MINUTES
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
• 6 medium sized potatoes (500g)
• 250g minced beef
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• 30 milliliters olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• ½ teaspoon harissa paste
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
• ½ teaspoon cumin powder
• ½ teaspoon coriander powder
• Pinch ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon tomato puree
• 5 grams parsley, finely chopped + extra to garnish
• 3 eggs
• 100g all-purpose flour, seasoned
• 200g fine bread crumbs
• Vegetable oil for deep frying
1. Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Lay the potato halves cut-side down on a chopping board and using a sharp knife make another incision along the middle of the potato paying attention not to cut all the way through to form a pouch.
2. Place the potatoes in a heat resistant bowl and pour over enough hot water from a recently boiled kettle together with a generous teaspoon of salt making sure the potatoes are submerged. Cover loosely and allow to sit for 5 minutes after which, drain the hot water and return to the bowl covered with cold water to stop the potatoes from discolouring. Set aside for later.
3. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan add the onions and cook on medium heat for 4 minutes stirring from time to time to make sure the onion does not burn. Add the spices, garlic, harissa paste, a generous grind of salt and tomato puree together with a splash of water and cook for further 2 minutes stirring constantly.
4. Increase the heat to high, start adding the mince a little at a time stirring as you do to stop the mince from clumping up. Once all the mince has been added and starts to brown all over add enough
water to barely cover the meat, lower the heat to low, cover the pot and allow to gently simmer for 20 minutes. Check from time to time adding a little bit more water if the mince is drying out too much. Uncover the pot, increase the heat and allow the liquid to cook off completely. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.
5. Remove the mince from the flame and set aside to cool. Once cool enough lightly beat one of the eggs, add it to the mince together with the parsley, mix well until everything is well combined and place in the refrigerator until the mixture firms up.
6. When ready to fill, prepare thee bowls one with the flour, one with the remaining eggs beaten and one with the bread crumbs.
7. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray large enough to fit the potatoes next to each other with grease proof paper. Place the oil in a deep fat fryer and heat up to 180°C
8. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Carefully stuff the mince mixture into the slits of the potatoes, packing in as much filling as you can while paying attention not to break the potatoes. Pass the stuffed potatoes through the flour followed by the egg and finally the bread crumbs. Continue with the remaining potatoes.
9. Gently lower the potatoes in the hot oil a couple at a time depending on the size of your fryer. Do not over crowd it. Fry for 4 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oil and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
10. Once all the potatoes have been fried, place them on the prepared baking tray, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the potatoes slides in with ease.
11. Remove from the oven, place on a serving board, sprinkle with parsley and serve alongside your favourite spicy tomato sauce.
• Make sure that you season the hot soaking water for
the potato well as this will be the only salt the potatoes themselves will be able to absorb and always make sure the potatoes are completely submerged in order to prevent discolouration.
• Make sure the mince mixture is not soggy as this will make it harder to stuff the potatoes with.
• Feel free to use bread crumbs for this recipe instead of maize flour, however the latter the absorb less oil on frying and deliver a beautiful golden brown colour.
• If you do not have a deep fat fryer pour the oil in a beep pan and heat up carefully.
• If you do not have a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature you can check if the oil if hot enough by throwing in a small piece of bread, if it sizzles straight away and start to brown proceed with the potatoes.
• The cooked potatoes can be prepared ahead of time. Cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven before serving.
• Theses potatoes freeze well also so it might be a good idea to make a larger batch and freezing them flat on
a try to solidify before transferring to a bag. Reheat from frozen.
• If you would like to serve these potatoes as finger food, use smaller potatoes baring in mind that cooking time will vary according to the size of the potato.