When something is meant to be, it's meant to be. After hearing about the Montague Book Mill, a used-book haven for readers in a converted 19th century mill in the beautiful central Massachusetts hills, my husband Ted and I immediately planned a road trip. The book store was all we hoped it would be: well-stocked with books both esoteric and practical, formerly-stuffed chairs for leisurely perusing placed in every corner, and an adjacent café with coffee and sandwiches for sustenance. We each snagged a few treasures. One of mine, Slow Cooker Comfort Food, offered this recipe for Basque tuna with potatoes and peppers, which I adapted somewhat from the original. I had everything on hand, including chunks of tuna in the freezer, some teeny potatoes from Trader Joe's, and bits of garden tomatoes that needed to be used right away. The garlicky aroma of the tomato sauce in the slow cooker teased us all afternoon, and the fish, marinated in the famous smoky-hot Espelette pepper, tasted like a warm summer day in France.
Slow cooker Basque tuna with potatoes and peppers
Adapted from a recipe for Basque-style tuna in Slow Cooker Comfort Food by Judith Finlayson. Serves 6.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp piment d'Espelette (or hot smoked paprika), or more to taste
1 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 lbs fresh tuna, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
1-1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic (6 large cloves)
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chopped seeded tomato (don't need to peel)
2 cups diced Yukon Gold potato (2 large potatoes; don't need to peel)
1 cup chicken stock
2 bell peppers, cut into large chunks
1 Tbsp arrowroot
In a bowl, combine the olive oil, piment d'Espelette, salt and tuna. Stir well to coat all of the pieces of fish; cover the bowl, and refrigerate.
In a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, add the onion, garlic, black pepper, wine, diced tomatoes, potatoes and chicken stock. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, or on LOW for 4 hours.
Add the bell peppers, and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
Then, add the tuna and all of the marinade to the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove all of the fish and vegetables from the slow cooker; place in a large mixing bowl. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a small sauce pan, and set over high heat on the stove top.
In a small glass measuring cup, stir the arrowroot with 3 tablespoons of water. Pour this slurry into the liquid in the sauce pan, and stir to ensure no lumps form. When the liquid has thickened slightly, pour it over the fish and vegetables.
Serve hot, over white rice, or let the dish cool completely, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken Basquaise with piperade
Grilled vegetables with piment d'Espelette sauce
Grilled portobello mushroom and goat cheese sandwich with smoked pepper spread
Salmon tagine with chermoula
Paella a la Valenciana
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled chicken with Espelette pepper, from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
Chocolate chili bites, from Chocolate & Zucchini
Crustless zucchini blossom quiche, from Chez Us
Marmitako (Basque potato tuna soup), from Mostly Foodstuffs
Tuna steak with warm new potato, chorizo and tomato salad, from Eat Like a Girl
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