Yummy, right? Inspired by a recipe from “Falastin” a cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, these Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Cumin, Lemon and Cilantro are chock-full of bold flavors. Milk Street made some adjustments to the original and created the following adaptation. Loving all things potatoes—and robust flavors—these spuds caught my attention immediately.
A couple of notations that are worth heeding: So the seasonings don’t scorch in the high heat of the 475°F oven, toss them into the potatoes about two-thirds of the way into cooking. For more heat, leave the seeds in some or all of the chiles. (We used jalapeños, but I did seed them.) A perfect pairing with our reverse-seared strip steak entrée, the potato recipe was halved for just two of us.
Halfway through the meal Russ asked me where the recipe originated from. When I read the excerpt for Milk Street Magazine and mentioned the title of the cookbook “Falastin” he immediately recognized the name because he had heard about it on a podcast and subsequently added to his Christmas wish list. And yes, he did receive it as a gift—he just hadn’t had an opportunity to go through the recipes.
Don’t forget to oil the baking sheet with cooking spray to ensure the potatoes won’t stick to the surface.
Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Cumin, Lemon and Cilantro
3 lbs. medium Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1-inch chunks
3 Tbsp., plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3-4 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
8 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 3 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer to the baking sheet, arranging the pieces cut side down in a single layer; reserve the bowl.
Roast until light golden brown and a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets just a little resistance, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the reserved bowl, stir together the remaining ¼ cup oil, the chilies, garlic, cumin and coriander.
When the potatoes are almost tender, use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to the reserved bowl; leave the oven on. Gently toss the potatoes until well combined with the seasonings, then scrape the mixture back onto the baking sheet and distribute in an even layer. Roast until the garlic is light golden brown and a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the lemon zest and cilantro over the potatoes, then toss. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with lemon wedges.
This Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew from the Slavonia region of Croatia, čobanac is a meat-centric stew rich with paprika and thickened in part by shredded root vegetables that break down during a long, slow simmer. Though referred to as shepherd’s stew (čoban translates as shepherd), the dish traditionally is made with not only lamb but also beef, pork and wild game. Milk Street simplified the dish using only beef; with chuck roast as the cut of choice for its meaty flavor, nice marbling and ample connective tissue that helps make a full-bodied broth.
NOTE: To achieve just the right amount of earthy flavor and an undercurrent of spicy heat, use both sweet and hot paprika. We didn’t have hot paprika, so 2 teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper made a fine substitution. Be aware, this recipe uses a LOT of paprika, so make sure to have enough on hand from the start.
Simple dumplings are a classic—and delicious—addition to this stew, but they are not essential. If you’d like to include them, you can obtain the recipe from Milk Street online. The dough is made and added to the pot at the end of cooking. We chose to make the Croatian Mashed Potatoes instead (recipe follows).
TIP: The original recipe calls for 6 cups of water, but in the end, our broth was very thin and watery so we reduced it, uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. To avoid this, use only 4 cups water, or make and insert the dumplings which help soak up the liquid.
It is recommended not to use double-concentrated tomato paste (the type often sold in tubes) or the stew will end up tasting too tomatoey. As you cook the tomato paste and vegetable mixture, don’t worry if the paste sticks to the pot and begins to darken; this browning helps build depth of flavor.
In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil, onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and parsley stems, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ¼ cup sweet paprika, the hot paprika and bay. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the wine and 6 cups water, then bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring often. (If not making the dumplings which help soak up some of the liquid, you may want to use only 4 cups water which will make the broth less thin.)
Stir in the beef and return to a simmer. Reduce to low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the beef meets no resistance, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the bay.
In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and the mustard. Whisk about 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the tomato paste mixture, then stir it into the pot. Return to a simmer over medium-high, then stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.
Croatian restani krumpir is a hearty, rustic dish of mashed potatoes studded with onions that are sautéed until soft and sweet, oftentimes seasoned with paprika and brightened with fresh herbs. Milk Street’s version is a one-pot recipe—the onion is caramelized, removed and set aside while the potatoes cook. Rather than boiling whole or chunked potatoes in copious water, instead they are sliced unpeeled and steamed in a covered pot with only enough water to facilitate even cooking and prevent scorching. This keeps the potatoes from absorbing lots of moisture so the finished dish tastes rich and earthy instead of thin and washed-out. This dish is a perfect the Slavonian stew.
Tip: Don’t forget to rinse the sliced potatoes before cooking. Rinsing washes off excess starch so the finished dish has a creamy consistency and isn’t dense and gluey. Also, don’t undercook the potatoes—they should almost fall apart when poked with a skewer so they can be easily mashed with a wooden spoon.
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick
3/4 cup water
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
¼ tsp. sweet paprika, plus more to serve
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives, divided
In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and well browned, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and set aside; reserve the pot.
In a colander under cold running water, rinse the potatoes. Drain well, then add to the pot. Stir in ¾ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt, then distribute the potatoes in an even layer. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the slices almost fall apart when poked with a skewer, 18 to 20 minutes.
If there is water remaining in the pot, increase to medium-high and cook, uncovered and stirring often, until no moisture remains. (We had to cook ours another 7 minutes for the pot to become dry.)
Reduce to low, add the butter and cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes with a spoon, until the butter is melted and incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chives, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with additional paprika and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives.
This rich, creamy gratin gets a note of smokiness from the bacon between the layers of tender potatoes. A hand mandoline positioned over a large bowl makes an excellent tool for which to create perfectly sized potato slices.
Definitely company-worthy and impressive, not to mention sinfully decadent and flavorful, these were a big hit for all of us.
3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
6 oz. grated Gruyère
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Sweet paprika, for topping (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Butter or oil a 3-quart gratin dish; set aside.
Put the potatoes, cream , 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a 12-inch skillet. Simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often and gently with a rubber spatula until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a fork or skewer, 8 to 12 minutes.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until browned and fully cooked. Set aside to cool, reserving 2 Tbs. of the fat in the skillet. Heat the reserved fat over medium-high heat and sauté leeks until tender, fragrant, and lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the bacon is cool, crumble it into small pieces.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer half the potatoes to the prepared gratin dish, spreading them evenly. Layer on the leeks, bacon, Gruyère, thyme, and nutmeg. Top with the remaining potatoes spreading them evenly, and pour over any liquid remaining in the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and melted butter. Evenly scatter the topping mixture over the potatoes. If using, sprinkle a light layer of sweet paprika over the breadcrumb topping.
Bake the gratin until it’s bubbly, the top is brown, and the potatoes are completely tender when poked with a fork or a skewer, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the gratin sit for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes before serving so the liquid is fully absorbed and the layers are cohesive.