Ingredients: Per 4 servings
Add olive oil and butter to a pot and place over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add thinly sliced onion and carrot.
Once the onion is golden, add lightly floured meat diced meat. Brown the meat on all sides, then add the white wine, tomato sauce, salt and pepper: stir.
Once the sauce has thickened and the liquid has been absorbed, add peeled, chopped potatoes.
Add enough water to cover the meat completely and cook in an uncovered pot for 45 to 50 minutes. Once the meat and potatoes are tender, remove the pot from the heat and serve the stew hot.
The potato plant is originally from South America and more specifically from the area of modern-day Chile and Peru. Cultivated for over 4,000 years, the potato was brought to Europe for the first time in the 17th century by the Spanish navigator Pizzarro.
Despite the fact that potatoes are healthy, inexpensive and versatile, Europeans initially believed that potatoes were poisonous because they became sick after eating the fruit and leaves of the potato plant, rather than the potato itself. Nothing seemed to change the minds of the Europeans, not even researchers or people who knew a lot about the tubers like the Discalced Carmelites monks who introduced the potato to Italy, explaining how it was meant to be consumed.
It was thanks to the famous French agronomist, Parmentier, who discovered the nutritional value of the potato during his imprisonment during the Seven Years War that the versatile tuber began to spread. After having written at length trying to convince the people that potatoes are edible, Parmentier realized that changing the minds of the French was going to be more difficult than he thought and came up with an ingenious plan.
Using the money of King Louis XVI, Parmentier purchased a plot of land in Paris and planted it with only potatoes. When harvest time came, he built a fence around the property and placed it under the watch of guards to make people believe that he had planted an extremely precious food, destined to be consumed only by the nobles. To make sure that the news of his potatoes to spread throughout the city, one night Parmentier ordered the guards to leave their post and let thieves enter the potato fields. The crooks arrived within a couple of hours and managed to steel the entire crop.
In the days to come, the potatoes were resold in the city’s markets as a “food of Kings.” By doing this, Parmentier was able to achieve his goal of changing people’s attitude towards the tuber.
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