I love the way how, after all this time, I still get a buzz wandering into the chilled aisle of the supermarket to see what New Covent Garden have dreamed up as their soup of the month. I'm always amazed that they can still find new ideas but they've come up with another cracker this month - Viva Espana Patatas Bravas.
I've often heard of Patatas Bravas and, while knowing it was based on potatoes, I was never exactly sure of what else was in there. Wikipedia to the recue ! They explain (here) : "Patatas bravas or papas bravas is a dish of the cuisine of Spain, often served as a tapa in bars. It typically consists of white potatoes that have been cut into 2 centimeter irregular shapes and then fried in oil and served warm with a spicy tomato sauce. This dish is commonly served in restaurants and bars throughout Spain, where it is traditionally accompanied by a shot of orujo or a glass of wine." So a glorified bag of chips with a glass of wine - sounds good already !!
It sounds like the important bit is the spicy tomato sauce that accompanies the potatoes. Wikipedia go on : "Preparation of the accompanying sauce varies by city. In Burgos, the sauce is tomato-based, and also includes vinegar, red pepper, and a variety of spices which give it bite. This sauce also accompanies patatas alioli, a form of fried potato prepared with mayonnaise and garlic. In Valencia and Catalonia, the potatoes are covered in a sauce made of olive oil, red pepper, paprika, and vinegar. In these areas, the dish is traditionally served with a side of alioli." Now, as well as a cheeky glass of wine, this makes me think that the New Covent Garden Patatas Bravas soup could be great with a slice of garlic bread. Definitely one to try out.
The soup version contains tender chunks of potato and red pepper in a tomatoey soup along with a sprinkling of smoked paprika which gives it a lovely earthy flavour and warming heat. This is real classic peasant food - comfort food at it's best. It does have a bit of a kick - you don't notice it at first but it builds up the more you eat ! - so that glass of wine might not be such a bad idea to cool your tongue down afterwards ! And the great thing is that it's low in fat and calories with 100g providing just 41 calories. With the chilli firing up your metabolism, that's got to end up as negative calories (or maybe that's just wishing thinking !).
As always, I have just one regret - this would be lovely as a permanent fixture, especially in the colder autumn and winter months, so it's a shame it'll only be around for a few short weeks - but I'm sure next month's offering will be just as tempting.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £2.20
for more information : http://forum.newcoventgardenfood.com/index.php/2011/04/viva-espana-patatas-bravas/
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