in honor of a diana kennedy event i’m going to tonight, i give you papas pastores, or shepard’s potatoes, one of her recipes that i’ve been making for years. and boy, are they good. addictive, really, so go ahead and make extra ‘cos you’ll sure wish you had. these are eaten primarily as a snack in mexico, but i serve ’em with grilled steak. it is an outrageously fantastic pairing due to the freshness of the lime in the potatoes. this recipe comes from her cookbook ‘My Mexico’, which came out about 10 years ago. i was introduced to her by my old friend jack who gave me an original print of her first book ‘The Cuisines of Mexico’, which came out in 1972. it is autographed for someone named scott. maybe i’ll take it tonight and have her cross out scott and write in steph instead! (hey, same amount of letters…).
for those that are not familiar with her work, diana kennedy is said to be the julia child of mexico. she also has some friends (ever heard of fonda san miguel?)and a residence in austin, so we are graced with her presence quite frequently. she is a purist, by all accounts (say ‘no more chips ‘n’ salsa’ like joan crawford says ‘no more wire hangers’), and sometimes i feel guilty when i can’t find fresh epizote or powdered tequesquite and i have to make do. i really do prefer to cook and bake without the aid of esoteric ingredients, but sometimes it’s worth it to go the extra mile when it comes to authenticity. because of her, i now know what to do with all those wrinkled peppers, spices, and other weird lookin’ sundries at my hispanic grocer.
papas pastores (serves 4 as a side dish, 6-8 as a snack)
adapted from diana kennedy
1 pound very small new potatoes*
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove
3 serrano chiles, finely chopped (seed and ribs removed if you prefer less picante)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup water
*if potatoes are on the large size, just cut them in haves or quarters–these were grown by my good friends at copper dog farms. a bio of them is coming soon!
heat oil over medium high heat in a large heavy pan. add potatoes and sprinkle with salt, shaking pan from time to time until potatoes skins begin to wrinkle and brown. add onion, garlic, and chiles, saute 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. add cilantro and lime juice and continue sauteing for 1 minute longer. add water and cover the pan. cook over low heat until potatoes are tender and almost all the liquid has evaporated.
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