Comforting classic Argentine meals
COMFORT FOOD IS A SHARED LANGUAGE ACROSS THE GLOBE, AND THESE INVITING ARGENTINE MEALS SPEAK VOLUMES
Stuffed potatoes with cream cheese and green onion » SERVES 4
4 large potatoes
1 tbsp pouring cream
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green onions, thinly sliced, plus extra to garnish
50g coarsely grated provolone Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain well and rinse under cold water.
2 Cut about 5mm off the length of each potato, so they sit flat on a work surface. Cut about 1cm off the opposite ends, then scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the flesh. Put the scooped-out potato in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork, then add the cream, garlic, green onion and provolone, and season well with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the potatoes, then set aside or refrigerate until needed. These can be made a day in advance.
3 Preheat a barbecue hotplate to medium. Wrap the potatoes in foil and place, stuffed side up, on the hotplate. Cover with the lid or a large baking dish and cook for 20 minutes, until heated through and the bottoms are crisp and golden.
4 Scatter a little extra green onion over the top and serve hot.
Gramajo’s scramble » SERVES 4
125ml (½ cup) olive oil
500g waxy potatoes, cut into 5mm thick chips
1 large onion, finely chopped 200g smoked ham, sliced
4 eggs, well beaten
Large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chips and sauté, turning frequently, for 20 minutes, until golden. Using a metal slotted spoon, remove the chips from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towel. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan.
2 Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until softened. Add the ham and cook for 2–3 minutes, then return the chips to the pan. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes, then pour in the beaten egg and cook for about 2 minutes, until the egg is just cooked but not dry. Remove the pan from the heat, stir through the parsley and season well with salt and pepper.
3 Serve hot with the bread on the side.
‘Pan de campo’ or rustic bread, to serve
Dulce de leche » MAKES 410G (1½ CUPS) (STOVETOP) OR 550G (2 CUPS) (OVEN-BAKED)
Dulce de leche is eaten with almost everything in Argentina, but at its most basic you can enjoy it with a spoon straight from the jar!
STOVETOP DULCE DE LECHE
1 litre (4 cups) whole milk 300g caster sugar
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda Pinch of salt
OVEN-BAKED DULCE DE LECHE
2 x 395g tins sweetened condensed milk
1 To make stovetop dulce de leche, heat the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Just before the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, ensuring that the mixture maintains a very gentle simmer (you may need to adjust the heat accordingly). Cook, stirring often, for about 1 hour, in which time the mixture will darken and thicken. From this point, stir the mixture frequently to avoid it catching and burning. Continue stirring for 20–30 minutes, until the mixture is thick and toffee-coloured.
2 To test if the dulce de leche is ready, place a spoonful on a cold saucer or plate. Allow it to cool and thicken, then run your finger through the centre of the dulce de leche. If the mixture doesn’t pool back, it is ready. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
3 To make oven-baked dulce de leche, preheat the oven to 180°C. 4 Pour the condensed milk into a 1-litre (4 cup) baking dish and cover with foil. Sit the baking dish in a larger dish and pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the sides of the dish with the condensed milk. Cook in the oven, topping up with boiling water to maintain the level, for 2 hours, or until the condensed milk is toffeecoloured (the top will be darker).
5 Carefully remove from the oven and stir to combine while still warm. Set aside to cool completely.
6 Transfer to a very clean, dry glass jar. Dulce de leche will keep in the fridge for 2–3 weeks.
Edited extract from The Food of Argentina: Asado, empanadas, dulce de leche and more by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz. (Smith Street Books, $49.99)