Zest and Herbs

Patatas bravas and “odds and ends” tapas

It can be quite surprising how much you can do with just the odds and ends that are leftover in fridge with a little imagination employed.  Shopping can be a bit of a chore sometimes, so if I’m not feeling up to it, then I just stretch what little food I have.  A few potatoes, the last couple of inches of a chorizo and half an onion were just enough this week for me to pull together a meal when combined with my constantly overstocked cupboard of tins.

Normally my reflex would involve a stew of chorizo and beans or chickpeas with tomatoes, saving the potatoes for another time, but I was feeling a little more adventurous this week.  After flicking through a couple of old issues of delicious. magazine, I found I had just enough to cobble together a little bit of tapas for two, a plate of patatas bravas and fried chorizo with chickpeas.


To be honest, the chorizo and chickpeas were a little lacklustre.  Given that I’d omitted the sherry from the original recipe, I wasn’t entirely surprised.  The patatas bravas were vibrant and a real treat.  I didn’t purée the sauce however, and was forced into adding plain old cider vinegar, rather than the more à la mode sherry vinegar like I should have used.  The main surprise of the meal though was that something so unplanned turned out so well.  And the extra sauce was great over pasta the next day.


  • 250g potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1cm by 1cm pieces
  • Olive or rapeseed oil for frying
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 mild red chilli, deseeded (or not) and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cider or sherry vinegar
  • 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes

Put the potatoes in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil.  Once boiling, salt the water and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes or until the potato is just tender.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and pat dry.  In a heavy based pan, fill the pan up to 1cm depth with oil and heat gently.  Once hot, add the potatoes and fry, turning occasionally for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden on all sides.

Whilst the potatoes fry, soften the onion in 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute, then stir through the smoked paprika and vinegar.  Pour in the tinned tomatoes, season to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.

Once the potatoes are lightly golden, remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper to remove excess oil and crisp up.  Keep them warm in a low oven until you’re ready to spoon the sauce over the top.  This will make double the amount of sauce you need, but it freezes well and could be added to pasta or cooked meat. Or you could just cook extra potatoes!


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This entry was posted on September 23, 2013 by in Recipes and tagged , , , , , .

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