Category Archives: potatoes

SICK! Chicken Potato Spinach Soup

I’m sick. So I want soup. It follows right? When you’re sick, when you’re a kid, everyone makes you soup. I have since figured out when kids are sick parents got the night off from cooking. They gleefully opened up a can-o-crapola chicken noodle, plopping it ceremoniously in a bowl where it maintained its cylindrical  shape until the microwave coaxed it into soup form. Still happy memories of being pampered with Saltines and 7up mixed with Orange juice and a bowl of soup abound when I’m sick. Chicken soup for my soul is actually making chicken soup, so here we go. Also as a bonus, it’s so easy you can do it while deathly ill.


1/2 Kilo (1 lb) chicken thighs or breasts cut into chunks
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot, if you can manage it,  you pathetic bastard. Toss in onions and garlic and cook until fragrant but you probably can’t smell anything, you disgusting snotty excuse for a mammal, so just cook until they are translucent.
IMG_4609Add in the chicken stock and water and bring the whole thing to a messy boil. Go get yourself a tissue. Once she’s a rollin’ and boilin’ add in the potatoes and set a timer for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low.
IMG_4613Once the timer goes off, toss in the cut chicken and set the timer again for about 15 minutes. Simmer that puppy.
IMG_4616Once the timer goes off again garbanzo beans, spinach, and roasted pepper.
Now let it all simmer for another 10 minutes. Do what you need to do, blow your nose, get in a quick sick nap whatever.
IMG_4618Remove from heat, sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese and you’re instantly well!
Eat a bowl. Then throw it up cause you know you can’t hold down solids. Put the next bowl in the blender, silly, then drink it through a straw.

Jamaican Pumpkin Lentil Soup

You know I spent a while playing with the name of this soup. Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin soup, Lentil Jamaican Pumpkin soup, Soup Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin and nothing really worked. Maybe listing ingredients sequentially by how much of each appeared in the soup? Scrapped that, as I was unable to adequately determine how much Jamaican it contained.

I found this on yummly basically by typing in the ingredients in my fridge that looked like they were about to become sentient. I’d made Dal Baht a few days prior and had a lot of left over items which, ding ding ding, these recipes share. This is a great simple seasonal soup which only takes about an hour to make. It’s great for awkward dinner parties, moon landings, and archeological digs.

1 minced onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 piece gingerroot (2 inches, grated)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP ground coriander
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 13oz can coconut milk
1 liter chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 sweet potato cubed
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
2 TBSP curry paste
black pepper to taste so add a lot really

Garlic and ginger love each other so once you’ve crushed and chopped them sufficiently drop them into a bowl together and really make the magic happen. Squish them together like two star-crossed lovers until you have a perfect mixture of the two which are both alike in wealth and dignity.   untitled-7949

In a grandiose gesture of good faith pull out a large cauldron, toss in your vegetable oil and onions. Stir them around for a spell until they become translucent like the skin of a Verona debutant.  Add in the lovers (garlic and ginger) being careful to continue stirring as to not allow their hot fiery love to consume them.untitled-7950Ask the poor  reluctant apothecary for  his wares. “I pay thy poverty and not thy will,” you scream at him as he hands you the coriander and cumin. Mix them into your pot and cook for another minute until you start to smell the spices on the cool night air.

Add everything else except the red curry paste. You are putting a whole mess of liquid in here so don’t be alarmed. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a medium simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

untitled-7951Test that it is done by sampling the sweet potato. If it is falling apart like the rivalry of two aristocratic families you’ve hit it on the head.

Add in your final ingredient, the curry paste and stir vigorously. If you’re not careful everyone will eat the soup without you. You’ll be left holding an empty bowl saying, “drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after?”

Anyway if everything doesn’t go your way don’t kill yourself over it



Cazuela de Vaca (Beef and Pumpkin Stew)

Worried what to do with that post-Halloween Pumpkin? Do you have nightmares of a molding orange gourd slowly becoming one with your porch? Well look no further. The Batter Junkie has a solution. Rana and I participate in a farmer’s coop so we get lots of fresh veggies every week. Once again, owing chiefly to the season, we have received a pumpkin! What to do? Well how about a little Chilean dish. This is something I found on the intarwebs by simply searching for the ingredients I had around the house. I will be honest though, if another pumpkin comes next week, I’m going all headless horsemen on it’s ass.
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) beef cubed
1 liter (32 ounce) beef broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup polenta
8 red potatoes cubed
1 onion diced
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) slice of pumpkin (calabaza sí estas en España)
2 ears corn (I could not get corn fresh so I used one can of corn from Whole foods)
1 carrot sliced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 stalk celery chopped
1 leek chopped
1 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (you can be liberal with these as there is a lot of stew)
1/2 cup or so of coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

So here be how ya does it. Cube the beef and toss it in a large soup pot. Pour in the water and beef broth and boil baby boil! Once it all comes to a boil lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and relax.

Oh, wait you have to cut everything, you can’t relax. Come on man do I have to tell you everything? Set the timer for 1 hour and chop the rest of your veggies.

After the beef has simmered for an hour in it’s beefy brothiness, it is ready for the veggies.

Stir in the polenta, potatoes and onion. Simmer that puppy for another 15 minutes. This will insure that the potatoes cook.

Now add in all of the other vegetables saving out the cilantro and oregano. Simmer those veggies for about 15 more minutes or until they are your desired tenderness. If the veggies start singing Otis Redding, they are ready. Make sure to add enough water to cover the veggies just barely. The hour of simmering the meat may evaporate a lot of liquid.

The last 5 minutes before you serve add in the fresh oregano. Now remove from heat, pour into a bowl and serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top! Disfruta!

Labels: dinner, pumpkin, soup, potatoes,

Mama’s mashed potatoes

As mother’s day was quite recent it only seemed fitting that I post something terribly yummy and quite precious to my heart, taught to me by my mom. Now mom has been featured on the blog many times before but this recipe is really a family favorite. Every Thanksgiving mom makes these mashed potatoes and people come from miles around to eat them. In recent years my brother has taken on the task but it has always been under the watchful eye of mom. One of the beautiful things that she taught me about cooking was to always experiment, try new recipes, make up recipes and most of all cook with no fear. In that vein I decided to give this recipe a little kick with some rosemary and garlic but the rest is essentially the family method.

Thanks mom for this, one of hundreds of fantastic recipes with which you have graced the world.

You may not know this but mom also serves as on of the primary editors here on the Batter Junkie helping to make the prose as sweet as the recipes. Happy Mother’s Day and thank you and moms everywhere.

7-8 Large potatoes (red, yukon gold, whatever you like though they vary a little between species)
55 grams (1/2 a cube) of butter
1 cup of milk (to taste and texture)
2 tsp Angostura Bitters
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Optional addition:
2 Tbsp Chopped fresh Rosemary
5-6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil

The way you usually start is to peel and quarter the potatoes. This is not entirely necessary if you like a bit-o-skin texture in there. I usually peel the bad bits off and leave on most of the skin. Then chop the potatoes in quarters and throw them in a large pot of boiling water. They will need to boil for about 25 minutes depending on how many potatoes you are doing.

Stick a fork in to one of them, if it slides away easily then you are all ready to go. Drain the water using a colander and place the potatoes in a large bowl.

If you have an electric mixer USE IT to beat them. If you do not then you’re in for a bit of an arm ache. Whip them while they are hot and toss in a little bit of the milk to soften the mixture. Once it has started to become smooth throw in the butter. Sweet sweet butter!

Add a little more milk and the bitters, salt and pepper. Make sure to taste it often.

In a small fry pan toss in the olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Saute for about 2 minutes until they make your kitchen smells like a small Greek village. Mix them in with the potatoes.

Now if you don’t have your guests coming for a while you can put them in the oven. This is a good plan if you don’t have a microwave. I put mine in an over safe bowl and turned it on 350 for about 15 minutes. That way the top of the mashed potatoes is a tiny bit crispy and it adds a nice texture.

As Richard Dryfus would say: “This means something.” Maybe we were looking for this?

Dad, Mom and me standing in front of a mashed potato sculpture,

These are amazing with gravy (the potatoes, not the people), fantastic with nothing but salt and pepper and a whiz with some steak and salad. Please enjoy them as much as our family has.

Love to all.

Personal Chicken Pot Pies

So mom says she’s making these personal pot pies and I say, “No kidding?” She says yeah, they’re easy and yummy and you should try them so I did. Wow was she right. Though in my inimitable fashion I changed the recipe a bit.

1/2 package of refrigerated pie dough
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1/2 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 cups chopped chicken breast
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of milk
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup carrot (chopped)
1/2 cup broccoli (chopped)
1/2 cup mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 – 1 cup boiled potatoes (chopped) 2 small reds

Extra stuff:
4 oven safe bowls (often called ramekins)

The first thing you need to do is chop up the potatoes and start boiling them. This takes about 20 minutes so start right away.

Next roll out your pie dough into roughly a 12 inch circle. Place the four oven safe bowls upside down on the dough and with a knife cut around them. Now you will have 4 little pie crusts for your 4 bowls.

Preheat the oven to 230 C (450 F).

In a largish pot add about a 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss in the onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add the garlic. Then toss in the chicken.

In a small bowl mix milk flour sour cream and chicken stock. Once the chicken is browned add the milk mixture to the pot. Then add salt and pepper.

Once the milk mixture is incorporated add the veggies and mushrooms.

Drain the potatoes and toss them into the pot as well. Mix them all up.

Now divide the chicken mixture into 4 bowls. Cut a few slits in the top of each dough topper and place them onto each oven safe bowl.

Place each crust over the pie and use a spoon to press down the edges on the sides. This keeps the whole thing intact. Now brush a little melted butter or oil over the top of each pie.

Throw them all in the oven for 15-18 minutes. Once the crusts start to turn a bit brown, they’re done. These are great for dinner parties and so easy to make you may become addicted.

Enjoy these and thank my mom with every bite!

Gnocchi the wonder pasta!

So the lovely Ben and Linh asked me to make some Italian food for them. I thought, why not try something I’ve never tired out on dinner guests? What could go wrong? So I had some potatoes and, well, I heard you could make amazing yumminess with them. I thought, why not? I have heard that gnocchi was hard not only to pronounce (nyo kee) but also to make. It really isn’t that hard but you’ll have to be careful to follow my directions…EXACTLY!

Ok, so first go find an old Italian women with nothing to do and have her teach you everything she knows about making gnocchi. If that falls through, read on.

2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup of flour
 salt  to taste.

The first thing you’ll need to do is put a pot of water on that can submerge the potatoes. Wash those little russets off, cut them in half and toss them in. Salt the water and watch it boil. Once it is boiling it should take about 30-40 minutes to boil the potatoes. Once you can stick a knife through one with a little resistance they are done. Be careful not to overcook them. This will ruin you gnocchi. Once they start absorbing too much water this will adversely affect your final product.

Next take the potatoes out of the water and skin those naughty potatoes like you’re taking off a lover’s clothes. Quickly and with reckless abandon! No really do it quickly cause they will be hot and you will burn your hands. SAVE the potato water in the pot.

Then take the potatoes and using a potato ricer (I don’t even know what that is) (UPDATE from Simone: Ricer) or a fork shred the potatoes into tiny pieces. You want to make sure that there are very few big lumps here. DO NOT put it in the food processor. You will ruin the gnocchi.

Once they are all shredded, mold them into a mound, yeah, like the scene in Ghost. You all know what I’m talking about. Make a little divot in the middle and pour in the egg and sprinkle the whole thing with about half of your flour. Using a knife cut and scrape the flour into the dough. Once it is all incorporated it should be a nice light fluffy dough. If it is too sticky add more flour, but you already know that.

Now divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a long snake about 1/2 an inch wide. Now chop up that little snake, cutting it into 1 inch pieces. Once you have all of this done you’ll realize why you don’t make gnocchi for just anyone. It’s a labor of love.

Take each piece and roll it on a fork to give it little grooves. This step can be skipped if you are pressed for time. Then boil the water and toss in the gnocchi in batches of about 20.

When they rise to the top of the water, they’re done! Congratulations.

You’ve done it. Though there is an Italian grandmother somewhere rolling her eyes.

Simple pesto
Mix together:
1 bunch chopped basil
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano
2 Tbsp (to taste) Extra virgin olive oil
1 Juice from a quarter of a lemon

Use the tomato sauce from Melanzane alla Parmigiana.

We made both!  Happy Ben and Linh!
Apply the sauces to the gnocchi in a bowl and mix. Yumm. We applied on top because Linh didn’t want it to be all or nothing. I know Simone, you are supposed to always mix pasta with the sauce in the bowl!


Labels: potatoes, Italian, pasta, gnocchi

Patatas a lo Pobre

It’s here! Or rather, I am. To celebrate my triumphant return to Spain I give you a traditional dish. 

There is nothing finer than simple food. Well reader, she doesn’t get much easier, and cheaper I might add, than Patatas a lo Pobre or Poor man’s potatoes. This is a recipe that was suggested to me by my good friend Simone, after he took a trip down south to Granada. This recipe is served as a tapa in Andalucía. If you don’t know what a tapa is, go read another blog, seriously.

If you’re poor, rich, or somewhere in between you’ll love this salt and oil delivery system.We got the particulars from a little blog called Recetas de mamá.


2 potatoes
1 onion
1 green or red bell pepper
Olive oil

Wash and skin the potatoes. If you want to give a little extra flavor you can leave the skin on the potatoes and just cut off the nasty bits. I will leave that to your discretion. Dice your onion.If you don’t know how there is a short tutorial in this post. It’s OK to leave large chunks as they will become soft in the cooking process. Cut the core out of the bell pepper or what ever kind of pepper you are using and slice it perpendicular to create rings.

Go find a fry pan with a lid. If you don’t have one, go buy one. Not only does it come in handy all the time but you use far less energy cooking with a lid. Good for you and mama earth!

Heat up a healthy amount of olive oil in the pan (for the overly fastidious lets say 3 tablespoon but truth told I have never measured it). Toss in all three ingredients, sprinkle with about a teaspoon or more of salt. Now be careful here because the salt and the oil are where your personal preference comes in. DO NOT skimp on either one. If you do, you’ll have dry, tasteless, mushy potatoes. That is not a time to come crying to me.

You: “Devon, they didn’t taste good, Waa!”
Me: “Well, hypothetical crappy cook, did you add enough oil? I didn’t think so.”

Cook it on low with the lid on and stir occasionally. It will take some time so be PATIENT.  Go take a course in Navajo code breaking or learn to use Windows 7. Just make sure it’s something that’s pointless and will take a long time. Near the end, about 30 minutes in, turn up the heat a little to crisp and brown those tasty taters.

You’ll know if they taste right because you will make this dish twice a day for a week.

Thank you Simone for reminding me of a favorite food from Andalucía!

Labels: main, Side, tapa, potatoes

Tortilla Española!

No we’re not talking about those little flat things you see them put meat and cheese in down in Mexico. Tortilla Española is a surprisingly versatile and easy to prepare dish. It seems to have legendary roots in Navarre but no one really knows the derivation of this tasty ubiquitous omelet.
Prepare to be amazed at the ease with which you can make such an alluring treat.

2 medium potatoes
3 eggs
1/2 Large onion (or a whole small onion)
Olive oil (extra virgin)

Yep. That’s it.

For some extra flavor you can add peppers and or mushrooms but I like to keep this one simple. The general rule is about 1 egg per potato but I usually add an extra for eggy goodness.
Here’s how you go about it. First skin your potatoes. Then cut them up into little quarter inch cubes. In a large fry pan dump in an abundance of olive oil. Add the potatoes. Here is the waiting part you must fry the potatoes on medium to low heat so as not to burn one side of the cube. Placing a lid on your pan helps to cook them faster and more evenly. This process usually takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
During this time you can walk the dog, check the kettle, get in a nice book, exchange carrier pigeon messages with your friends in Romania, or simply watch the television.

In a bowl beat eggs and add salt. Once the the little cubes become soft to the touch of your spoon they’re done. At this point, take the little cubes out and mix into the bowl with the eggs. Be sure to leave the majority of the oil in the pan.

With the pan empty you can now toss in your onions. Do so and cook them over medium heat until they start to become translucent.

Add the cooked onions to the eggy potato mixture. In a much smaller omelet pan pour about half of the remainder of the oil into the bottom. Make sure to coat the edges of the pan with oil too. This will make your life easier later. Place the pan over medium heat and pour in your egg mixture.
You’ll need to cook it until it moves as one piece when you touch it. You don’t want it all sloppy. We all know that is bad. Once it has firmed up nicely, take it off of the heat and place a flat plate or cutting board over the top the tortilla. In one fluid motion (over the sink I might add) flip the whole thing so that the tortilla comes out on the cutting board.

Then simply add the remaining oil from the fry pan to the now empty omelet pan and coat the edges like last time. Gently push the tortilla into the pan and fry the other side the same way. Now if you’ve done it right the topside should be golden brown. Cook the other side for a few more minutes and serve, baby, serve!
It is best when it is hot but can be eaten cold. Cut triangular shapes from the middle and enjoy.
Bon profit!

Labels: breakfast, eggs, potatoes, tortilla

Knishes: Not just fun to say

Have you ever wondered what a Knish is? Well, wonder no more, for I’m about to show you how to make them. Knishes are essentially stuffed dough so there are two parts; the dough and the stuffing. Saw that one coming, didn’t you? Here is my augmented recipe. I got the original from Gabi Moskowitz over at

4 eggs, lightly beaten (save one of the egg whites)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use saffola)
3 cups  flour

2 large potatoes cleaned with skin left on
2 tbsp unsalted butter (or olive oil)
1 small onion chopped up
1/2 tsp fresh thyme or rosemary
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
300grams (1/2 pound) of chicken, beef, or turkey (ground or chopped)

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F).

Mix the dry ingredients (baking powder, salt and flour). Add in the eggs and oil until it turns into a soft dough. Cover the dough (to protect it’s modesty) put it in a warm place, and play the dough some Barry White records. While the dough is resting, begin the preparation of the filling.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, enough to cover the potatoes, and toss them in. Make sure they are chopped into little chunks because they will cook more quickly. I leave the skins on.

While those are boiling, chop up your onion and toss the butter or olive oil into a fry pan. Saute for a few minutes and add your choice of meat. Continue to fry until browned. Add thyme or rosemary and salt and pepper. Now doesn’t that look tasty?

By this time, your potatoes should be soft. This might be a personal problem… If they are not, then simply boil them longer. Mush the potatoes up in a large bowl. If you’re fancy use a masher. If you’re not, use whatever tool is closest. Add your meat mixture and the cheese. Now that your filling is done you’re ready to knish it up.

Go find that dough. It’s been resting and listening to sexy music so it’s ready for action. Knead it for a few minutes. Divide and roll it into two eight inch long cylinders. Now things are heating up. Cut each cylinder into eight equal pieces. Now you have 16 little dough coins. Lay the coins out flat on a surface dusted with flour. Use a rolling pin or in my case a pint glass, to roll them out into flat discs as shown below.

Scoop out about 2 Tbsps of the filling and drop it in the center of the dough discs. Grab all of the edges, and pull them up to form a tulip shape.

Place all of the knishes on a tray. The look like little sacks of gold, and they are, just wait. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg white onto each finished knish.

 And this my friends is what they look like when you’re done. These are lots of fun, and can reheated later if you can’t eat them all in one go. Enjoy your sacks of gold.

Labels: dinner, dough, main, potatoes