Suzi's Blog

Chile Potato Tart: Rich Tomato and Potato Flavors

tart shell
Yes, that’s an empty tart shell, waiting to serve you. What you need is a delicious way to fill it to the brim.

Here’s an elegant way to serve potatoes and tomatoes in a tart with with a crust that adds the flavor overtones of Parmesan and chili. “Tart” is, for me, a special word. It always seems to denote something special, something personal, something with a twist that will make me smile. This tart is exactly that lovely treat. There is a dash of richness from the creme fraiche, overtones from sea salt, and a chile hit.

This tart consists of a tomato base topped with potato slices. You can artfully arrange those slices in different patterns and perhaps top with some additional chili flakes or herbs.

This tart takes a bit of effort, but you’ll truly appreciate the results. It can be a side dish, but has the substance of a main course. Try this on a Sunday afternoon. Let the ballgames play out on television while you focus on something sure to be a success. [This blog was written by a New York Giants fan after three consecutive losses. I need, and deserve, serious comfort food.]

Chile Potato Tart

Yield: Makes 6 servings



  • 1 ½ pounds ripe red plum tomatoes halved lengthwise and seeded [or cherry tomatoes]
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 large red chile
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound waxy potatoes boiled in their skins for 15 minutes then peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 ¼ cups crème fraiche lightly whipped and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chile Pastry:

  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purposes flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced,
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 red chile, seeded and very finely chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 350° F.

To roast the tomatoes, lightly brush a baking tray with some of the olive oil and arrange the tomatoes cut side up.  Add the garlic and whole chile and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil.  Sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly over the tomatoes and bake in the preheated oven.

Remove the garlic after 10-15 minutes when soft, and squeeze the flesh into a bowl.  Remove the chile after 15-20 minutes when the skin is blistered and slightly charred.  Leave the tomatoes for 45-50 minutes until very soft and slightly charred.  Cool the chile a little, then peel, seed, chop finely, and add to the garlic.  Scoop the tomato flesh into the bowl, discarding skins [with cherry tomatoes, simply mash the skins].  Mash the flesh.  Season to taste.


Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Rub the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in the Parmesan and chile, if using.  Add enough cold water to make firm dough.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a greased, 10-inch fluted art pan.  Lightly prick the base with a fork.  Chill for 30 minutes, then line with foil and baking beans.  Heat a baking tray on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at. 400°.  Put the tart shell on the tray, bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and remove the foil and beans.  Increase the oven heat to 450°.

Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the tart base, then over with concentric circles of potato slices.  Pour the crème fraiche over the potato.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the top is golden.


Potatoes: From Mash To Fries by  Annie Nichols


Hog-Tied Chili with Jalapeno Cheese Dumplings

bowl of chili

I had to be careful. If I blew it, Suzen was not going to make this dish for me. I could not seem selfish or self-serving. That requires enormous concentration and energy. You could argue that if I just focused on being … What fun is that?

“You, uh, you do like jalapenos?” I asked her.

She put down the paper and her coffee. “What are you talking about? Are we married or not?”

“No, no,” I said. “It’s just with the acid reflux you’ve been having, I wondered if you could eat, say, a cooked jalapeno?”

“Cooking in what?” she asked. Her eyebrows were up. If our cat’s ears are up, I know that is good. If Suzen’s eyebrows are up, and her ears are twitching, that’s bad.

“Cooked in a little cheese. Sort of soothing.” I had to back her down.

“Maybe.” The eyebrows lowered. “Show me.” She extended her hand.

I passed her our new copy of The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers. It was open to the picture of this chili with its jalapeno cheese dumplings.

She seized book, staring with the recipe but here attention immediately shifted to the picture: a steaming bowl of chili topped with dumplings. Her eyebrows descended fully. The ears were motionless. Her eyes shifted to me. “Why the hell didn’t you say so? Get your wallet. We’re going to Whole Foods.”

This book, The Whole Hog Cookbook, is brilliant, one of the best cookbooks we’ve seen in a year. Author Libbie Summers has earned her credibility with a lifetime in food. She began as girl visiting her grandparents’ hog farm in Missouri. She’s been a private chef on yachts [tough work but someone has to do it], worked for many food companies, is a food stylist master [see the pictures in this book], and is now the “driving force in kitchens of Paula Dean.”

Every time you turn the page in this book, you stop. You may want to begin cooking at once, or you may need to read to make sure you understand what the devil you are looking at:

  • Sweet Potato Pork Pie
  • Sweet Tea-Brined Pork Roast
  • Buttery Potted Ham
  • Prosciutto Pretzel Knots
  • Bacon Beignets
  • Rosemary Bacon Scones

This is one of those cookbooks that you’ll keep close at hand. You can cook your way through it all this fall and winter.

Besides the recipes, there well-photographed how-to sections demonstrating techniques for preparing your meat, like how to remove the membranes from pork ribs. Literally everything you need to know for creating outstanding pork dishes is all here in this craftily written work.

Oh, the dumplings? Oh, those dumplings. I love this chili, and it is a bit spicy, but the dumplings are what will bring the tears to your eyes.

Hog-Tied and Hungry Chile with Jalapeno Cheese Dumplings

Yield: 6 servings


For the chili:

  • 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and drained 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (4 ½  ounce) cans chopped green chiles
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups pork stock (page 154)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the dumplings:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable shortening, melted
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced


In a large stockpot, cover the beans with 3 inches cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, simmer for 2 hours, or until the beans are fork tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

In the same large stockpot, cook the pork until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the onion, garlic, green chiles, chipotle, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Sauté for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, stock and chocolate. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, masa harina, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl  whisk together the egg, milk, lard, and honey.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just  combined. Stir in the cheese and jalapenos.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the dumping dough into the simmering chili, leaving a little space between the dumplings so they do not touch. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the dumplings are cooking. The dumplings should be firm to the touch, still moist in the center. Serve hot.

Source: The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers