Potato stew (Kompir mandza)

Hm….. nothing like the taste of home… your home smelling of how you remember home and then taking a bite of home…Mmmm…. I had this over the holidays with the lovely people I was staying and they showed me how simple it was to make. Don’t know why I haven’t thought of making it before… maybe cause I am dazzled by all the other recipes out there and want to try a new thing each and every time that I forget what treasures are hidden back in my childhood. These things are home cooking at its best. That is what comfort food is all about. Yes, it’s about being delicious, but it’s more about the memories it brings back, the happy times at home, the not so good times haha, but above all, that everything WILL work out. Am I the only one feeling like this? Hopefully not.

I was a bit of a klutz in the kitchen when I was making this. I spilled water, not once, but twice. I took a picture, when there was no memory card in the camera, so the first photos are somewhere magically inside the camera, and forgot to put one ingredient in. I made it the night before for the days following. And I went to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep and for some reason I started to wonder why do I have that can of chopped tomatoes in my pantry and what did I need them for… Then, it dawned on me they were for this dish. Ooopsies.

I kind of remember my mom sometimes making it without tomatoes, which seriously doesn’t hurt it. It’s nicer with tomatoes, and I may add a photo and edit this post the next time I make it. One tip though: any time you add tomatoes or any kind of acid in something you’re making, it will slow down the cooking time and will make the veggies hold their shape. So, if you want something done faster, add the tomatoes towards the end. Not so much here. Here, you can let it stew, besides better that way. It’s one of those things that taste better the older they are and the longer and slower they cook…

One word about the meat used: it is most often made with beef (but you can use pork sometimes… maybe chicken, haven’t tried that) and it should be stewing beef, beef you’d use for boeuf bourguignon or particularly, meat from the front shoulder of the animal.

I will explain how I made it this time, but this is what I would like to try next time around because the meat was not as tender as I wanted it to be (as I said, I will be redoing this): brown the meat in some oil, not too too brown, just a bit on either side. Add the liquid and let it simmer for some 20-30 mins. Add the veggies, let them cook, done.

[hope this didn’t put off anyone from making this, it is seriously really tasty]

Ingredients:

300 gr meat, cubed

3 big and 1 small potato, cubed

2 peppers, chopped (whatever colour floats your boat!)

1 small can chopped tomatoes

3 small onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 small carrots, chopped

2 bay leaves

fresh/frozen parsley, chopped (use the stalks as well, (keep them separate) it will all cook down)

salt and pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tbsp olive oil

2 bouillons cubes

1 ½ cups water (375 ml)

Preparation :

1. Heat up some of the olive oil and add the meat and brown a bit, one minute or two. Take it out and reserve.

2. Add the leftover olive oil and toss in all the veggies, but the can of tomatoes. If you have the stalks of parsley, add them now. Stir.

3. Add the water and the bouillons cubes (or use stock). Stir.

4. Add the meat and tomatoes, stir.

5. Add the bay leaves, a little bit of salt and pepper, cover, let it come to a boil and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

6. Check the seasoning and stir in the chopped parsley.

you can tell my potatoes cooked too much and started falling apart because I forgot the tomatoes... :(

you can tell my potatoes cooked too much and started falling apart because I forgot the tomatoes… 😦

*If you have too much water, let it simmer with the lid off to let it evaporate. Make sure it’s on medium and you stir once and again, you don’t want it to burn at the bottom…. (don’t look at me, I didn’t say it happened to me…)

If you can’t be bothered with waiting for the meat to become tender or fiddle around with it, you can buy a more tender (and more expensive) cut and add it once the veggies are halfway done, because that meat would cook faster and you don’t want it to end up disintegrating in the dish.

Either way, I hope you enjoy this!

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