Potato Sides

Sunday March 19, 2017


Potatoes just go with meat (and everything else for that matter, even pasta). It’s one of the laws of culinary attraction. Here are a few excellent potato side dishes, all a bit novel, to serve with your steaks and chops.

Smashed Potatoes with Green Onions and Sour Cream

Really these are known as my little sister’s outrageously good chunky, smashed potatoes. While mashed potatoes are smooth and creamy, smashed potatoes are mashed with a fork and left chunky and uneven in texture, which surprisingly gives an entirely different taste. It is important not to peel the potatoes, you want the bits of skin in these. I am saying this serves four, but it has been known to feed only two if you are craving potatoes.

Cooking Method: Stovetop

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 large red potatoes or Yukon Golds, washed, unpeeled, and halved (about 2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream (regular or fat-free), or imitation sour cream

6 green onions, both the white and some of the green, chopped

Salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black or white pepper

Instructions

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil and add the salt.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain, then return to the hot saucepan. Add the pat of butter and sour cream. Mash with a fork or potato masher ONLY; these are supposed to be chunky.  Add the green onions and mix well to distribute throughout the potatoes. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Steamed New Potatoes with White Wine

When I was learning how to make potato salad many years ago, I found out the secret is to pour wine or wine vinegar over the hot potatoes and let them stand. Well, one day the potato salad did not get made and the potatoes got eaten plain. Delicious! You can top them with chopped chives, crumbled bleu cheese, or crumbled bacon, if you like.

Cooking Method: Stovetop or Electric Steamer

Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2-pounds new red or white potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Fingerlings, left whole if small, or cut into quarters if larger

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and few grinds black pepper

Instructions

Place the potatoes in a steamer over boiling water, cover, and cook over medium heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Pour over the wine, oil, and season to taste. Stir gently with a rubber spatula. Let stand on the counter to come to warm room temperature while you are preparing the rest of the meal before serving.

Sweet Potato Purée with Chile Chipotle

I adore this recipe mashing sweet potatoes with smoky chiles and coconut milk. It comes from Deane Bussiere, a chef at the Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. I became fascinated with Deane after reading an article on his switching over the hospital food, using the same budget that once provided the more processed commercially prepared foods like instant mashed potatoes, into a successful server of nutritious and organic foods to the hospital patients. His food is stunning and I dream of having to go to that hospital just to have the food. Not stopping there, he also donated a portion of the hospital grounds to be used as an organic vegetable garden for the local schools kids to learn how to grow their own food while supplying the hospital kitchen at the same time. The chef’s notes: keep all ingredients warm when mixing the sweet potatoes and immediately seal with plastic wrap if not serving right away. Keep tightly covered until serving since many of the vitamins in sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are lost through evaporation.

Cooking Method: Stovetop

Cook Time: About 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

2 tablespoons sour cream, regular or fat-free

2 small canned chipotle chiles with juices

About 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Instructions

Simmer the sweet potatoes until very soft, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Drain and allow to steam cool to room temperature, so the excess moisture can evaporate. Add the butter and allow it to melt over the yams. Scald the coconut milk in a small pan until just below the boiling point; there will be small bubbles around the edges.

In a food processor, add the sour cream, chipotles, and salt; purée well. Add the sweet potatoes, pulse to begin mashing, then pour in the hot coconut milk while pulsing. You may need a little more coconut milk, which can be added cold, to get the right consistency of thick, smooth mashed potatoes. Be careful though: do not over-process; you want these smooth and fluffy, not pastey.  (You can use an electric mixer to make chunkier mashed potatoes than the food processor, but you must purée the chipotles first.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap until serving. If prepared the day ahead, refrigerate.

Ultimate Warm Potato Salad with Quinoa and Peas

My girlfriend was cooking for a mountain retreat center some years back. Rave reviews came about her quinoa-potato salad, which at the time seemed like an adventurous combination to me. Well, of course quinoa and potatoes both grow in the same high altitudes and are natural and complementary foods to each other. This is a non-mayonnaise salad. This is served warm and is excellent with all types of meat, especially pork tenderloin.

Cooking Method: Stovetop

Cook Time: About 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup light olive oil oil, more as needed if the potatoes soak it all up

1-pound Russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces, unpeeled

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (hot or mild)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (such as Swanson’s)

3/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed a few times and drained

1/4 teaspoon salt

Few grinds black pepper

1 cup frozen petit peas, thawed

Instructions

In a heavy deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Sauté the potatoes and onions until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat the potatoes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, salt, and pepper; return to boil. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low; simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat, then stir in the peas. Let stand covered, 5 minutes. Mix gently to fluff.  Serve warm.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2009, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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