Monday, August 2, 2010

Papas Con Chile Verde Y Queso....lots of Queso

I've had this dinner on my menu list for weeks. I don't know why I didn't make it until tonight. It's a dish I learned from my mother in law, Maestra (teacher in Spanish). It only takes fifteen minutes and it's very delicious. As I was making it, I started to think about the times I've eaten this meal. This simple, almost too simple meal. Maybe I didn't make it because of the simplicity of it. I like meals that take time and tons of energy and work. Sometimes I gage how much I'll enjoy the meal by the time it took to make it. What's my least appetizing meal? Cereal and sandwiches.

But this was different. The smell of perfectly cooked potatoes, the slightly spicy smell of the green chiles and the melting cheese was just what I needed today, wrapped in a burrito. It reminded me of Maestra's kitchen with the big table and the mismatched chairs. Everyone sitting around it with a paper plate of green chile potatoes, scooping with pieces of flour tortillas, laughing about something random, drinking their third glass of soda; these images filled my mind. We'd always eat too much, laugh too much and talk too much. We love each other so much, our tortillas are community property and just sit, eat, rip a piece of tortilla and be happy. I don't make this meal because it means too much to me.

When I make this meal in my house now, a thousand miles away from everybody, a pain starts. No, it's not heartburn, not that kind anyway. We each got our plate. A burrito for Mechanic hubby, one for me and a small serving for Baby Sagittarius. We sit around our table and eat; quietly. As I chew and swallow this delicious reminder of home and set my burrito down, I see a little hand take my burrito, move it next to her little mouth and take a tiny bite.

Green Chile Potatoes

4 large potatoes peeled and chopped
2 cans of green chiles
Lots of shredded cheese
Flour tortillas

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add vegetable or canola oil, enough to coat the pan. Add your chopped potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, stir. Add two handfuls of water and cover. Let this cook for about 9 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. Pierce a piece of potato to see if it's soft. If not, cover with the lid and let it continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. If it is soft, lower the heat to medium low and add the green chiles, stir to combine. After about 3 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese. Stir to melt the cheese. Heat tortillas on warm burner or comal. Serve hot, use tortillas as utensil or add potatoes and make burritos. I've added cooked bacon to this, ham cubes, even leftover shredded KFC chicken but it's best without all the extras.

Happy eating.

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