Yesterday evening I was feeling quite tired and in want of a comforting dinner, but I didn’t feel like walking to the shops once I was home. I scoured the kitchen cupboards and there was this bunch of potatoes whispering “boil us… boil us…”
And so I did!
- Butter or olive oil
This is tearfully simple to prepare and cook, which is great when your brain is exhausted.
- Either peel the potatoes or wash the skin thoroughly (I sometimes leave the skin in, specially if the potatoes are newer and have no “eyes” ?)
- Same with the carrots
- Cut everything into small cubes or slices, the smaller the faster they will cook
- Put them on a pot
- Add water, a centimeter or two above the “cover everything with water” level
- Cover with a lid
- Turn the heat on high, and bring to a boil
- When it starts boiling, bring the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer (maybe also turn on your extractor fan or everything will get very steamy)
- How long? it depends on the amounts and the sizes of the cubes! But about 30 minutes. You might need to add extra water if it runs dry–you want a soup, not just boiled vegetables. And you should also test them from time to time; try smashing a cube with a spoon against the pot. If it is soft or breaks down easily, it’s time to turn the heat off!
- Depending on your texture preferences, you can mash the vegetables directly in the pot if you have a mashing accessory, or maybe blend it with a blender. Or you can do nothing if things are mushy enough!
- Serve on a deep bowl or dish. Add olive oil or butter, salt and pepper. (I’m blatantly stealing my partner’s trick of adding a lot of pepper as it brings a lot of heat to the tongue without adding chilli).
This method is great to finish off any old vegetables you have lying around. Onions? Beans? Sweet potatoes? Celery? Leek? It’s all good: peel, slice and add to the pot!
It’s also very easy to make a big batch, so you can have dinner for two days (or two people). I haven’t tried freezing this, though.
Some background (the “origin story”)
This totally brings me back to my childhood: we’d have a dish of boiled vegetables as the starter for dinner, then maybe some deli meats and bread, or an omelette, or fish, or something lightweight like that. We call this dish “bollit” in Valencian, or “hervido” in Spanish, which means… boiled!
Although back then we would boil the vegetables without dicing them, so you would get a whole potato in your dish! This also took longer to cook, specially if you didn’t use a pressure cooker. My grandparents didn’t—they seemed to always use the same small weathered pot, and they had to start cooking their bollit every day at 18h for it to be in time for dinner.
If you happened to show up at their home at 20h, you would both get welcomed by an intense smell of boiled onions, and also severely admonished for visiting them so late! ?