August 29, 2014

the proper way to honor a potato

"Ahhh," says I, fully satiated after our supper of roasted red potatoes, peas, roast chicken, and watermelon, "now that was a meal!"

"Yup!" agrees Spice, "some people don't like to eat hearty, but we do!!"

She is right.  We do!  And if you, like us, enjoy eating "hearty", here is a recipe for your files:

Roasted Red Potatoes

(I'm pretty sure you will enjoy these no matter what kind of potatoes you use - I've used all kinds - but the ones we had tonight were especially spectacular, probably because my Farmer grew them in the richly pampered soil of the chemical-free CSA farm he manages a few miles from our house.  (click to visit the farm blog, facebook page, and local harvest listing)  They were tender-skinned red potatoes, a variety called Chieftain, turned out of the earth just days ago.)

So here's what you do:

Preheat the oven - 450 degrees Fahrenheit and not one degree less.  This is not the recipe to skip preheating.

Parboil the potatoes (we decided it must mean "partially boil" but never did look it up) - basically cook them in water so that they're not raw, but not perfectly soft, either.  If you're a purist, you'll boil them in their jackets (that's "skins" to us regular people).  If you're short on time, like I was, you'll cut them first - cubes, wedges, half-wedges, as you like 'em - and then parboil them.  Took about 10 minutes.

Drain the water (eternal optimist that I am, I saved the water for potato bread that I probably won't get around to making.  Feel free to pour yours down the pipes.)

Gently tumble the parboiled potatoes into a 9x13 glass pan (or if you like scrubbing, use a metal pan - do they even make those anymore?).

Add oil - peanut is what I used - and seasonings (I recommend salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme).

Carefully turn the potatoes into the oil and seasonings.

Roast 40-60 minutes.  

Resist stirring, except for twice.  Trust me on this.  You will interfere with the incredible french-fry-like crust that forms if you stir too often.  So set your oven timer for 20 minutes and go read (or rot your brain on facebook or something).  You may stir when it rings, and not before!  Add more paprika if you want the potatoes to brown more, or faster.  Add oil (more peanut, or coconut) if your potatoes drank up their first dousing.  Then 20 more minutes of whatever, stir again, 20 more minutes and you're ready to call the family to the feast!

And a feast it is.  I sincerely hope that your roasted potatoes are every bit as satisfyingly delicious as ours were.

(We were too busy eating to take pictures at the table, and the only reason there were any potatoes left over to photograph later is because we were also eating roast chicken, our all-time favorite!)

(If you're a local reader, you can better your odds by signing up for a share at my Farmer's farm!  Late entries to the season are pro-rated.)

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