Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons: an Optimist in Andalucia is one of my favorite books, especially the audiobook narrated by the author which reliably makes me laugh out loud. Chris was a drummer and founding member of the English band Genesis who decided to move to a farm in Andalucia, Spain more than 20 years ago.
An early episode in Driving over Lemons tells how the scoundrel Pedro prepared Papas a lo Pobre, “poor man’s potatoes”. It is almost too humble a dish to appear in cookbooks, but Papas a lo Pobre is one of the best foods on earth when you need comfort. It takes perhaps an hour for the potatoes and peppers to cook, and during that time you can have some olives and red wine.
According to Chris Stewart, Pedro ate Papas a lo Pobre for breakfast, lunch, and supper, each time with two glasses of red wine. So you can’t overdo this meal. Pedro also gnawed on a couple of hunks of ham and some bread, but these aren’t necessary.
The recipe below is a loose adaptation of Pedro’s cooking.
1/3 cup olive oil
8 medium potatoes, peeled (about 3 pounds)
2 medium onions, cut into chunks
head of garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
5 or 6 small peppers, some sweet and some hot
Heat a deep frying-pan over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion chunks.
Add the garlic cloves.
Chop the potatoes roughly into “great coarse chips” and add to the pan. Give the mixture a few stirs. Toss the whole peppers into the pan. Add salt and freshly ground pepper.
Let the potatoes and onions and peppers and garlic cook until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.