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KotW: Pan-Roasted Potatoes. November 15, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in Kip of the Week, vegetarian.

For years I wondered about the best way to cook potatoes to accompany a roast chicken or other roast. Baked potatoes are easy, but bland, and the temptation is to add a lot of calories to fancy them up. Boiled potatoes require an extra burner, and a lot of their flavor ends up in the cooking water. Mashed potatoes are so much work, and so rich, that in my house they’re for holidays only.

But years ago, Junk Food Girl and I were roommates for a while (bet you would never have known!) and she taught me a trick with potatoes, and then I fiddled with that…

Six to 12 flavorful potatoes; I like Yukon golds but you can use Finnish golds, russets, red creamers…
one tablespoon oil
one-half cup cold water
one-half teaspoon Creole seasoning
one-half teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces; with Yukon golds this usually means cut in half, then each half in quarters. Have a big heavy skillet ready and warming on the stove. Then do one of two things: either toss the potato chunks with the oil and the water and put them in the skillet; or, if you have an oil sprayer, put the potatoes and the water in the skillet, then spray the potatoes generously with oil. Let the skillet heat on the stove just until the water starts boiling — which won’t take long!

Dust the potatoes with the Creole seasoning and pepper, and put the skillet on a rack in the oven, above whatever you’re roasting. If you’re roasting a chicken at 325°, put the potatoes in about half an hour before you turn off the oven, and leave them in for the 20-minute stabilizing period before you remove the chicken. If you’re roasting something that comes straight out of a hot oven, put the potatoes in for the last 25 to 40 minutes depending on temperature.

These potatoes will be assertive and full of flavor, because they barely encounter water, they’re sharply seasoned, and the browning is nice and even. Because they come to the table in a hot skillet, they’re still hot when they’re served, unlike hash browns. And they’re so easy!

(And thank you sarawr, if I didn’t say that already.) /KC



1. sarawr - November 15, 2008

You know, I never thought of adding water with the oil — I’ve always just done oil, seasoning, roast. I shall now fiddle with the seasonings in this recipe until I like them, then serve the potatoes on Thanksgiving and impress the hell out of everyone. (Meaning Connor and me, most likely, but it’s the thought that counts.)

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