Potatoes In Tomato sauce (Patates Yahni) is one of those side dishes that can proudly stand as a main meal. Soft and very flavorful cooked in a thick tomato sauce with spices.
It's a popular mommy's dish here in Greece. Since it's so easy and quick to pull together. And do you actually know a kid who doesn't fancy potatoes? I would be amazed to hear that!
Table Of Contents
Potatoes Yahni is a derivative dish of Pork And Potatoes Stew. In past years, if there wasn't meat available potatoes were used to make this stew instead.
How To Make Patates Yahni
To make this speedy and delicious dish you need to cut the potatoes into small square pieces and sear them in a small amount of hot olive oil. To give them a light golden color all over. You needn't cook them too much. This is only done to give them some color and keep them from getting too mushy while they cook.
Then remove the potatoes and in the same pot with the olive oil, saute the onions, garlic, and allspice berries. Add some tomato paste and let it caramelize for a few minutes while stirring it with a wooden spoon. Pour in some wine and deglaze the pot. You may now add all of the remaining seasonings along with the water and or vegetable stock.
Cooking Soft Potatoes In A Thick Sauce
To make the potatoes soft and the sauce thick at the same time, you need to simply:
- Choose the right potato variety (from the ones mentioned in the text below).
- Cook on low heat covered. This ensures the potatoes get slowly cooked (the steam in the pot helps cook them more evenly), while the sauce is getting reduced not too quickly. Leaving time for the potatoes to cook.
- If by the time the sauce has thickened the potatoes aren't very soft, you can always add a splash of water and cook a bit more.
- On the other hand, if the potatoes are cooked but the sauce isn't as thick as you would like (which is unlikely to happen), you can uncover the pot and turn the heat to medium-high for a few minutes.
To make Potatoes In Tomato Sauce you need a potato variety that's good for stewing. Yukon Gold and white potatoes are some of the best options for this. You can also use Russet potatoes as well.
Seasonings And Substitutes
The seasonings that are used in this recipe are allspice berries, ground cloves, sweet paprika, and bay leaves. If you don't have allspice berries you can use ½ teaspoon allspice powder. Or substitute allspice altogether for ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg.
As for cloves, again you can use either ground or powdered. If you have whole cloves instead of powder use 5-6 of them. You can even substitute the paprika for some smoked one. Just make sure you use only one teaspoon of smoked paprika than 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika.
Extra Seasonings You May Add:
- Ground cumin. About ¼ teaspoon of it.
- Dried Oregano 1 teaspoon of it.
- Dried thyme 1 teaspoon.
- Cinnamon stick. A small one or cut one in half. Many add this in Greece but personally is too sweet for my liking.
Serve these Potatoes In Tomato Sauce along with a big piece of feta cheese and some olives. For a vegetarian meal option. Or you can serve them together with any of the following side dishes: Tirokafteri (whipped feta dip), Tiropita Rolls (Cheese Pies), Saganaki (Fried Feta Cheese), Horiatiki (Greek Salad).
Potatoes In Tomato Sauce (Patates Yahni)
- 5 medium-sized (970 grams) potatoes such as Yuko Gold and white potatoes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-sized (100 grams) red onion minced
- 4-5 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
- 6 allspice berries
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 30 ml red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- OPTIONAL: ½ cup vegetable stock
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 5 cm (2-inch) pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until lightly golden all around about 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon. Set aside on a plate.
- In the same pot add the onion, garlic, and allspice berries. Turn the heat to low and cook until softened.
- Add the tomato paste and cook 2-3 minutes more stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot well. Give it a minute or two for the alcohol to evaporate. Then add the potatoes back into the pot.
- Pour in 2 cups of hot water. Or 1 ½ cups of hot water along with ½ cup of vegetable stock. Add also the bay leaves, sweet paprika, and ground cloves. Once it starts to bubble, put the lid on the pot and simmer for about 40-50 minutes on low heat.
- Depending on how starchy are the potatoes you are using, you may need to add a splash of water towards the last minutes of cooking. Prick a potato with a toothpick to ensure it's cooked. If the potatoes are nice and soft but the sauce hasn't thickened sufficiently, cook for a few minutes over medium or medium-high heat uncovered.
- Serve with feta cheese and olives!
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