I·ATE: Potatoes, the perfect warming food for cold days

January 28, 2017 10:00 am

In these cold winter days, there’s nothing better than eating something warm and filling. When you think about it, meals with potatoes are one of the best options to warm you up and deal with the low temperatures. Indeed, there are hundreds of traditional recipes from across the continent that have potatoes as one of the main ingredients. Some more similar than others, so let’s have a look at some of the most common and delicious potato meals we can find.


Our first suggestion is the traditional shepherd’s pie, a rustic dish originally from the United Kingdom. The recipe is very easy to cook, and normally has two main components: meat and potatoes. The beef and vegetable layer on the bottom cooks very quickly, and the mashed potatoes on top are also very simple to prepare. This kind of pie is also known as cottage pie, but as the chef Jamie Olivier says on his blog, there is, in fact, a difference between them: the meat. Shepherd’s pie should only be named as such if it contains lamb, while cottage pie usually applies to the one made with beef. There is also a vegetarian version –shepherd-less pie– that can be made with lentils, sweet potato, carrots, mushrooms, onions, celery, and other vegetables.

The French version of this dish is called hachis Parmentier. The word “hachis” takes its root from the English word “hatchet”, which means a dish containing chopped or minced ingredients. The meal is prepared with mashed potatoes and beef stew, layered together with cheese and baked. In France, we also find the tasty tartiflette, which is originally from the French Alps, made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. It is commonly served in the ski resorts and it often gives you a cosy feeling, being the ultimate comfort food. Similarly, the gratin is another typical dish with baked potatoes and crème fraîche, that comes from the historic Dauphiné region in Grenoble.

cottage-pie                          tartiflette

This list would not be complete if we left out the Spanish tortilla de patatas. Known as Spanish omelette to the English natives, it is one of the most traditional meals in the Spanish cuisine, made of eggs and potatoes, sometimes also with onions, courgettes, peppers, spinach, and other vegetables. In Spain there is also a version of shepherd’s pie and hachis Parmentier called pastel de carne that is prepared with minced meat and smashed potatoes.

In the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean countries, such as Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and Bulgaria, you will find the delicious moussaka: a very rich casserole that is perfect for family or friends gatherings. Moussaka is also cooked with meat, potatoes and béchamel. But there are many variations depending on the country, such as the Greek one, which is commonly prepared with aubergine; or the vegetarian version, which is made by replacing the meat with sautéed courgettes, mushrooms or other vegetables according to people’s personal preference.

tortilla de patatas spain                            greek moussaka

Some other traditional dishes whose main ingredient are potatoes are the kartoffeln klößen in Germany, also known as ‘potato dumpling‘ in English, or the raspeball in Norway. Both are made with grated potatoes that are filled with different ingredients depending on the region: meat -lamb or pork-, vegetables or mushrooms. Last but not least, in Italy there is the sformato di patate, which is a kind of ‘potato pie’, typically eaten during winter. It is made of different layers of potatoes and then, cheese, meat or vegetables, depending on regions or personal tastes.

Is your mouth watering now? Have you ever tried any of these recipes? If you think that we have missed anything out, please do not hesitate to let us know and make your own contribution.


Written by Ana Jiménez Morente – Communication Trainee at DG TRAD, Terminology Coordination Unit



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