As a British kid, I grew up eating potatoes. It was a staple of post Second World War Britain. But there was on offer only boiled, baked, mashed and chips, and only the chips had anything other than gravy or mint sauce on them. Potatoes with every meal and so little variation in presentation, but I was not complaining. I loved them and still do. But with cooking books and the internet, the variation on offer now is beyond belief.
I happened upon this Lebanese/Syrian recipe last year and it has established itself as a regular in our family. I have modified it slightly to suit my philosophy of cooking in the most efficient way within the bounds of a recipe.
Because it is baked it lends itself as a dish that can go in the oven alongside a main course, and therefore is cooked for ‘free’. Well perhaps I am kidding myself, but you understand where I am coming from.
Serves 4. Preparation Time 10 minutes. Cooking Time about 40 minutes
1 large potato per person, cut into 1 cm dice
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red pepper or 2 large tomatoes, diced to 1 cm
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 or 3 teaspoons ground coriander
a grind of salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients, except the lemon juice, in a bowl and stir together well.
Tip into a baking dish as a single layer
Put into a hot oven set at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/ Moderate for about 35 to 40 minutes. Half way through baking, stir them through.
They are finished when they are nicely browned.
Drizzle with the lemon juice and serve them immediately. Here I have served them with Peas and Stir Fried Cabbage (recipe here)