It is said that patatas a lo pobre take as long to cook as the time it takes for a farm wife to put the pot on the stove and walk the kilometre or so to the fields to tell the men that dinner is ready and then walk back. Based on peasant cooking, patatas a lo pobre — poor men’s potatoes — has a rich flavour with the earthiness of the potatoes, freshened with the capsicums and the fruitiness of olive oil. It is very rustic and filling so you don’t need to serve much. The key to this dish is to make sure all the ingredients are roughly the same size when they go into the pot so everything cooks evenly.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and sprinkle with fine sea salt. Add the bay leaves and stir. Reduce the heat to low–medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Once the onion is soft, add the capsicum and garlic and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the potato and enough olive oil to cover the vegetables and increase the heat to high. The idea is to confit (see Note) the vegetables gently at just below boiling point. When small bubbles appear reduce the heat to low–medium. Cook gently for about 1 hour, or until tender.
Gently lift out the vegetables with a slotted spoon. The oil can be strained and used another three or four times to confit other dishes in this book.
While the vegetables are cooking
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