Now that temperatures in East Tennessee have taken a nosedive, we've been looking for ways to indulge in substantial dishes without feeling like we've eaten a brick. Small plates are a seriously satisfying way to answer cravings without overdoing it. Serve these creamy, spicy, gooey roasted potato gems as part of a larger spread, or serve them alongside a stack of toothpicks at a party for a flavorful appetizer.
This sauce is fun to whip up at a party, too, because it's a neat showcase for the chemistry of cooking. The thin mixture rapidly becomes luscious and thick before your eyes in a hot skillet, the tomato paste turning dramatically sweeter as the fragrances of garlic and ginger strengthen and mingle. That means once the potatoes are roasted, this dish is both a quick path to comfort food and an impressive-looking show of cookery. Not bad for a handful of ingredients you probably already have hanging out in the kitchen.
Roasted Potatoes in Garlic-Ginger-Chile Sauce
serves 6 as a small plate or appetizer, adapted from Saveur
1 1/2 lb bite-size yellow or white potatoes, or larger potatoes cut into 1-inch dice
2 TBSP peanut oil, divided
16 dried arbol chiles
1 cup no-salt-added vegetable stock
1/4 cup low-sodium tamari
1 TBSP corn starch
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 2-inch piece ginger, sliced (generous 1-1 1/4 oz)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBSP dark sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the potatoes with 1 TBSP of oil and roast for about 1 hour, until very tender and golden, tossing halfway. Set aside.
While the potatoes cook, place the chiles in a bowl and pour in hot water to cover. Cover with a kitchen towel and let soak. When the potatoes are done, discard the soaking liquid.
Whisk together the stock, tamari, corn starch, vinegar, and tomato paste until smooth. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 TBSP of peanut oil thoroughly in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring very frequently, until thickened and fragrant. Add the potatoes, cook an additional 2 minutes, and continue to stir very frequently.
Remove from heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.