Salivating for some fabulous potatoes with a lot of flavor? Look no further than these Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic, Bay and Chilies that we first spotted in a recent issue of Milk Street magazine. Paired with another of their recipes of Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic, and some Fresh Peas with Lemon & Chives, it was a dinner to remember!
The traditional way of cooking potatoes with these classic Portuguese flavors is to slow-roast them in the oven or long-braise them on the stovetop alongside meat. But in “Authentic Portuguese Cooking,” author Ana Patuleia Ortins includes a quicker, meat-free version that yields a wonderfully delicious side.
Milk Street adapted her recipe, opting to use a mixture of wine and chicken broth for simmering (wine alone tends to toughen the exteriors of the potatoes) and substituting jarred crushed peppers—the type often smeared onto Italian hoagies—for the spicy Portuguese red pepper paste called massa de malagueta. If you cannot find crushed peppers, simply use ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes instead.
In Portugal it’s known as “batatas cozidas em vinho e alhos” and varies by region and family, but the heart of the recipe is consistent: potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. First the onions and garlic are cooked until jammy-sweet, then the potatoes are added and simmered in white wine to add wonderful acidity to balance the starchiness.
“The thing that people don’t understand about Portuguese cooking is that it’s flexible. The way they say it, it’s ‘com gusto.’ It’s how you like it.”
We knew it was going to be a winner so we increased the recipe by 50% right off the bat. And although the directions indicate it takes about 30 minutes for the potatoes to meet no resistance when pierced with a knife, ours took an additional 20 minutes—therefore be prepared to add extra time if needed.
Tip: Don’t stir the potatoes too vigorously or they’ll break apart and make the sauce gluey. Aim to keep the large pieces of potato as whole as possible. Also, don’t reduce the sauce too far; as the potatoes sit off heat, they’ll continue to absorb the sauce.
Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic, Bay and Chilies
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ tsp. jarred crushed peppers or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1¼ tsp. smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- ¾ cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, bay, crushed peppers, paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until fully softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the potato mixture, then add the wine and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then cover, reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.
- Uncover and cook over medium, now stirring more often and adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, until the liquid has thickened and lightly coats the potatoes, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay and stir in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
Adapted from recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street