Pondering Potatoes

Pondering Potatoes
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Last week brought to market a wonderful selection of potatoes, and I certainly indulged! What a delight – when I go them home they still had a faint aroma of fresh, clean dirt – exactly what you want on a potato. The first night, I did the usual – roasted in the oven with herbs. This is a standard recipe in our house; just scrub the taters, let dry, and place in a cake pan or cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 350* or 375*. Drizzle the spuds with olive oil, and in toss salt, pepper, and herbs. You can use almost any dried herb by itself or in a blend; I use herbs de Provence, or rosemary, or even dried thyme and sage. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes. Shake them once or twice to make sure they are evenly coated with oil and seasonings, and there you have perfect roasted potatoes. If you want to get fancy you can toss with fresh chopped parsley just before serving. The second night, still enamored of taters, I decided to try something new. I wanted something slightly Mittel-European to accompany grilled sausages (from Backyard Bison, Lindenhof Farm, Birchrun Hills Farm, or Lime Valley Mill Farm), broccoli (from North Star Orchard, Blueberry Hill, or Lime Valley Mill) and salad (ingredients from Fruitwood Farms, Blueberry Hill, North Star Orchard and Lime Valley Mill Farms). Here is the recipe:
  • 1 pound smallish new potatoes, cleaned and cut into ¾ inch chunks (leave the skin on!)
  • ½ large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Chopped sage leaves or chopped dill (or any other herb you prefer, fresh or dry)
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pimiento de espelette (a slightly smoky dried paprika from France; substitute smoked paprika from Spain or sweet paprika)
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy sauté pan (or cast-iron pan with a lid), add the onions, and cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes until caramelized. Add the sage, stir, and add the potato chunks.
  2. Stir to cover completely in butter and add the stock.
  3. Cover, and make sure the heat is medium-low – you want the potatoes to cook slowly so they stay creamy.
  4. Stir occasionally, until cooked through (20-30 minutes).
  5. Add the cream, salt and pepper, and stir.
  6. Leave the cover off and make sure the heat is on low – you don’t want this mixture to boil, just to thicken slowly.
  7. When the liquid around the potatoes is thickened to your liking, sprinkle the paprika on top of the potatoes (and you can add more fresh herbs as well, if you wish – a touch of dill at this point might be nice) and place under the broiler for a few minutes, just to create a slight crust on the top. Serve and enjoy!