Loaded Smashed Potatoes

Good grief – will someone please tell me how it got to be September already??

Things have calmed down somewhat around the Sushi Bar; The G Man is in Michigan and starts kindergarten today (boy, talk about time just flying by!!) and while The Young One came home for the long weekend, we didn’t see much of him (he spent a lot of time sleeping) and he was back on campus by Sunday afternoon.

However, even though our lives are no longer ruled by the comings and goings of young men, things are still pretty busy.  It is, of course, prime canning season and we did it in style this last weekend.  If you think we went crazy with the zucchini and green beans, well…let’s just say they weren’t anything compared to this weekend.

We took Friday off from work, which was a good thing, since it gave us the opportunity to do some housework and yard work.  We made our usual CSA/farmer’s market runs Saturday morning, and came home with 2 bushels of paste tomatoes (to which we added another half bushel from our own garden), 5 dozen ears of sweet corn, 5 pounds of okra and a 1/2 peck of the sweetest peaches I’ve ever tasted.  The result?

– 8 pints of barbecue sauce canned

– 32 pints of tomato canned

– About 2 1/2 cups of tomato paste made, portioned and frozen

– All of the corn shucked and cleaned; 1 1/2 dozen frozen on the cob, the remainder cut away from the cob, portioned, and frozen

– All 5 pounds of the okra cleaned and sliced; about 4 pounds breaded before being frozen (’cause we love our fried okra)

– All of the peaches peeled, sliced and frozen

The tomatoes were milled and the sauces and paste were made on Saturday.  The canning, corn and okra were done on Sunday, and I peeled and sliced the peaches while cooking our dinner (an amazingly delicious and un-paleo gumbo) Monday evening.

In short, we basically came back to work today to rest from our “long weekend.”

We’d have gone out to eat Sunday night – the day was just that exhausting – but all the decent restaurants in Podunk are closed on Sunday, so we made dinner as simple as possible.  Beloved fired up the grill and cooked us steaks, while I roasted some of the okra I’d left whole.  Darling Daughter asked for this particular dish and since she did most of the work, I’ll credit her with the execution.

I have to tell you, these smashed potatoes are really pretty easy and they are really very delicious; even Beloved, who prefers sweet potatoes, wolfed them down.  The leftovers keep quite well, too, as you can see in the photo below, when we had them with the leftover steak, over-easy eggs and watermelon the next morning.

Note:  You can leave off the bacon if you don’t eat pork or want to make them vegetarian-friendly – simply sub the bacon fat with melted ghee or olive oil.

Loaded Smashed Potatoes.  Crispy and delicious, these are somewhere between potato skins and baked potatoes.

Click the image to enlarge

Loaded Smashed Potatoes
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound whole new potatoes, preferably Yukon golds
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes well. Carefully drop them into 2 quarts of boiling salted water and cook until tender enough to pierce with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; spread out on a shallow-rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain; reserve the fat left behind in the pan.
  4. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, smash them slightly (still on the baking sheet) with a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy glass measuring cup. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with the reserved bacon fat.
  5. Roast the smashed potatoes until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the bacon and cheese. Return the pan to the oven until the cheese is melted, another 5 to 7 minutes longer.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the snipped chives and dollop with sour cream, if desired, before serving.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 235 calories, 16.1g total fat, 36.6mg cholesterol, 283.1mg sodium, 395mg potassium, 14.1g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber, <1g sugar, 8.8g protein

Irish Lamb Stew

Happy Wednesday, everyone…I guess.

I don’t about all of you, but the holidays are rushing at me at the speed of sound and I simply don’t know how I’m going to get everything done that I need to in time.  So, I’m going to get down to business right away today.

I’m sure you’re all very grateful. 😛

So.  I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this stew, but that’s pretty much irrelevant: it is delicious and comforting.

As well as simple, as most stews are.  It takes time, yes, if you simmer on the stove per the recipe, but it can also be made in the pressure cooker.  How do I know this?  That’s how I made it.  Simply follow the recipe to the point you cover and simmer it, and pressure cook for 20 minutes as opposed to the 1 1/2 hours.  Do a quick release of the steam, add the vegetables and pressure cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how small you dice the vegetables (I kept the pieces fairly large, because I like my stew chunky).

Voila, the quick version of this Irish Lamb Stew.

In order to keep the recipe grain- and gluten-free, I’ve used tapioca and potato flours – tapioca because it stands up well to high heat and/or prolonged cooking (unlike arrowroot powder) and potato to help with the “gumminess” that often happens when thickening with tapioca alone.  The result was a marvelously silky gravy that was neither too thick nor too thin.  You can, of course, use 3 tablespoons of regular all-purpose flour if you like.  If you don’t consume pork, substitute the lard with ghee (I think both tallow and coconut oil might be too strongly flavored).

Sub the red-skinned potatoes with sweet potatoes and this becomes Whole30 compliant, although I don’t know if you can rightly call it “Irish” then.  But who cares?  It’ll still be delicious and comforting.

Note:  Like most stews, this is even better the next day, and reheats beautifully.

Irish Lamb Stew. This satisfying stew, filled with tender lamb and root vegetables, is just the ticket on a chilly evening.

Click the image to enlarge

Irish Lamb Stew
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons lard, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
  • 3 large turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound red skinned potatoes, diced
  1. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels, In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, thyme and flours. Toss the meat in the seasoned flour mixture until well-coasted and set aside.
  2. Heat the lard in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the lamb to the pan and cook, in batches if necessary, until the well-browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
  3. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom. Return the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
  4. Add the vegetables to the stew. Continue to simmer over low heat, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary, before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 445 calories, 15.5g total fat, 88.1mg cholesterol, 1041.6mg sodium, 1425mg potassium, 43g carbohydrates, 6.7g fiber, 14.9g sugar, 33.1g protein


Hungarian Goulash

Goulash means different things to different people.  Depending on where you live (or where your grandparents are from) it could mean a hearty, thick beef stew with few to no vegetables (although dumplings are common) or it could be a richly flavored soup with meat, potatoes and root vegetables, both generally characterized by generous amounts of paprika.  Or, if you are from certain parts of the northeast or midwestern United States, it’s a mishmash casserole of ground meat, tomato sauce and macaroni or rice.

Growing up in Texas, we generally ate the latter kind, although it wasn’t necessarily called “goulash” – at least, not in our house.  My mother called it “stuff” and she was very good at making it.  As a result, I was also very good at making it when my kids were growing up, although I tended to call it “hurl it in a pan and pray.”  (Kudos to anyone who can tell me where that came from.)

At any rate, it’s the time of year when the leaner, quicker cooking cuts of meat in my freezer are dwindling, but that’s okay because it’s the season for roasts, stews, soups and casseroles; dishes both Beloved and I are very fond of.  So recently, when faced with a rolled chuck roast and no real idea of what to do with it, since I wasn’t in the mood for pot roast, I decided to find out exactly what was in a more traditional goulash.

Like I said, it really all depends on where you live and who you are, especially if you’re of central European descent, and even then what the goulash is composed of and how it’s prepared is really dependent on the cook – like chili or gumbo, everyone seems to have their own recipe.  So I decided to make something that was somewhere between the soup and the stew versions.

Mainly because I like stews and I like vegetables in them.

I was extremely pleased with how this came out; it was just delicious.  And, like most slow-cooked stews, it is even better the next day – it made a marvelous lunch a couple of days later – so don’t be afraid to make it ahead.  It reheats really well, and is so incredibly comforting.

Note:  This can be made Whole30 by substituting the Yukon gold potatoes with turnips or white-fleshed sweet potatoes.  I also used sweet Hungarian paprika; if you want a goulash with a bit of a kick, use a hot paprika.

Hungarian Goulash. Beef chuck is slowly stewed with onions, root vegetables and paprika for a delicious, comforting dish.

Click image to enlarge

Hungarian Goulash
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 3 tablespoons tallow or lard
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  1. Heat the fat in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high; add the beef and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until the meat is browned, about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir in the paprika, marjoram, caraway, and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about a minute or two.
  3. Add carrots, parsnips, tomato sauce and beef stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, until the beef is tender and the liquid has begun to reduce somewhat, about an hour.
  4. Add the potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 494 calories, 25.8g total fat, 110.7mg cholesterol, 222.4mg sodium, 1551.8mg potassium, 39.7g carbohydrates, 8.4g fiber, 9.4g sugar, 27.6g protein

Hot German Potato Salad

Happy Friday, y’all!  Our weekend will be busy – the beginning of apple season is upon us and the apple sauce and apple butter we canned last year was such a great thing to have all year long that we’re going to do it again this year.

The orchard we get our apples from also makes the best apple cider I’ve ever tasted in my life, and since it’s clear (they do something to keep it from being cloudy like a lot of commercial cider) I’m going to make some of it into apple cider jelly to can.  If that turns out well, I’m also going to make hot pepper jelly with it too.

We’ll also be driving out to Kent this evening after work – The Young One has requested to come home for the weekend.  He must be out of clean clothes and dorm snacks.

There are also only 3 or 4 weeks left for our CSA, which makes me a bit sad, but the stuff we’re getting is just wonderful (I love late summer/early autumn).  Over the last few weeks we received yukon gold and baby red potatoes; this week we’re getting fingerlings.  We don’t eat a whole lot of white potatoes these days, and rarely buy them, but when we get them in our CSA share I have absolutely no problem cooking and eating them.

So when I decided to make my very un-authentic Jaeger Schnitzel, I thought that Hot German Potato Salad might go quite nicely with it.  It turned out to be a great idea, and it wasn’t hard to modify it to fit our diet, especially since most recipes call for small amounts of white flour and sugar.  And, like with the Jaeger Scnitzel, we both absolutely loved it.

It’s a little more involved than your garden-variety picnic potato salad but is completely worth it, and it’s got that great sweet-and-sour thing going on.

Hot German Potato Salad. A delightfully different potato salad, served hot with bacon and a tangy vinegar dressing.

Click the image to enlarge

Hot German Potato Salad
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  1. Place the potatoes in 3-quart saucepan with a tablespoon of salt; add enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium-low until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tapioca flour, honey, salt, celery seed and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly; remove from heat.
  4. Whisk the water and vinegar into onion mixture. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in potatoes and bacon. Continue cooking, stirring gently to coat potatoes, until they are heated through. Serve warm.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 232 calories, 8.7g total fat, 12.9mg cholesterol, 325.4mg sodium, 900.7mg potassium, 33.4g carbohydrates, 2.8g fiber, 3.8g sugar, 5.6g protein

Parmesan Roasted Baby Potatoes

As you might have guessed, we’ve relaxed our stance on white potatoes a little, especially this time of year when they’re coming into season and are in our CSA  basket and so ubiquitous at the farmers market every week.  We don’t eat white potatoes much in the winter, when we tend to consume our starches in the form of sweet potatoes and various winter squashes, but for now I really don’t see much of a problem with eating a small portion of these organic (to say nothing of delicious) white potatoes occasionally.

They’re mostly in the form of baby and new potatoes; we rarely, if ever, see Russets or baking potatoes.  The problem with that is that the skin of these tiny potatoes is thin and delicate, and you simply don’t peel them.  And guess who won’t eat potatoes with skins?  (I’ll give you a hint – he’s tall, snarky and perpetually surrounded by a cloud of Axe body spray so thick you can almost see it.)

So, the other night when I was making the Bacon-Wrapped Honey Mustard Chicken Strips, I asked him if he wanted potatoes or rice and he replied, “Potatoes.  They’re more filling than rice.”  And heaven knows, at his age more filling is better, so I grabbed the potatoes and immediately wondered what the heck to do with them.  Me?  I like them roasted  whole, tossed in a little olive oil and salt and pepper, but I knew there was no way I’d get The Young One, bottomless pit or not, to eat them that way.

Then I remembered the Easy Roasted Potatoes I’d made a few weeks ago, and the enthusiastic response I got from the men of the house, both old and young.  So I found myself cutting the smaller of the baby potatoes in half and quartering the larger ones to expose some of the interior.  Then I tossed them with some melted ghee, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and roasted them until they were crisp.

The verdict?  “These potatoes are a gift from the gods.”

I’d call that a win.

Parmesan Roasted Baby Potatoes
Parmesan Roasted Baby Potatoes
Parmesan Roasted Baby Potatoes
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, such as Yukon golds
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry; halve the small ones and quarter the larger ones. Place the potatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with the melted ghee, and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Stir with a large spoon until the potatoes are coated.
  3. Spread the potatoes evenly on a large, shallow-rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 139 calories, 9g total fat, 24mg cholesterol, 78.4mg sodium, 351.5mg potassium, 12.2g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 1g sugar, 3.1g protein