Sometimes the simplest foods are the most delicious. That is certainly the case for this Portuguese classic. Growing up, there were always a big platter of these at any given family gathering. Just a simple red bliss potato boiled till tender and stuffed with some wet crushed pepper or pimenta moida.
In this recipe, I have taken this simple recipe to the next level. Although still simple, I have added one more step… cooking down the pepper with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Give them a try, you’ll be glad you did.
Start off by carefully cutting into your uncooked potato… Go in about 2/3 of the way through and stop. You will want to make sure the flat side of the potato is facing down so that when they are placed on the platter later, they don’t roll too much.
Cover your potatoes in a cold water in a pan just large enough to accommodate your potatoes. For purposes of this recipe, lets say 8 medium-sized red bliss potatoes.
Add in a generous pinch of salt. The goal here is to flavor the potato itself.
Grab one clove of garlic.
Crush the garlic and remove the peel.
Add garlic into the potatoes and salted water. Then turn on the burner to bring potatoes to a boil.
When you see the splits in the potatoes start to come apart a bit, its a good hint to check to see if they are fork tender. Then allow to cool a little while in the water and then drain to continue cooling. You will need to handle these with your hands.
While this is going on, you can begin preparations for the stuffing:
Run two cloves of garlic through a press, or mince garlic by hand. Add to cold olive oil in a small skillet. Then turn burner on to medium. You want to saute the garlic without burning or turning garlic brown. The goal is to not only cook the garlic, but to infuse the oil with that garlic flavor.
Next add in a good quality wet crushed red pepper. My family makes our own each fall and we remove most of the seeds so it isn’t too spicy. You can find a good quality wet crushed red pepper in any portuguese market and in some super markets. If you don’t have either option… gather a few medium spice peppers, seed and grind, soak with salt in its own juices over night to achieve a similar effect. Or order from a portuguese grocer on-line.
Simmer on low for about 5 minutes in the garlic infused oil. Allow to cool slightly.
Your potatoes should be cool enough to touch for this next step. Gently open the slit you made in the potato just enough to allow a spoon full of pepper in there… There is almost always a casualty or two that split wide open into two pieces… just put those on the bottom of your platter!
Go about the stuffing of the potatoes until you have filled your platter.
Portuguese Style Pepper Stuffed Potatoes (Batatas com Pimenta)Serves 8
8 medium red bliss potatoes
1/2 cup Portuguese wet red crushed pepper
3 garlic cloves, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Prepare potatoes by washing and cutting into each potato about 2/3 way through and stopping. Add into a pot and cover with cold water. Add in salt and 1 clove of garlic crushed. Bring to a boil over high heat. When split in potatoes start to separate, check they are fork tender. When fork tender, shut off flame and allow liquid to cool a bit. Drain and continue to allow to cool.
Prepare the stuffing by sauteing two cloves of garlic that have been run through a garlic press to a small skillet with cold olive oil. Turn burner on to medium heat and gently saute the garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes. Add in about 1/2 cup of red pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes over low heat. Allow to cool slightly.
Stuff potatoes with pepper mixture. Serve. Enjoy!
*note: this is a gluten-free recipe.