Iron chef - Potato!

The other day my friend and I were at Safeway and came across a fabulous deal - 20 lbs of potatoes for $ 2.99. WOW!
We decided to split the massive potato purchase with the intention of making up a bunch of stuff that could be frozen in smaller servings, and eaten later. I figured a Shepard’s pie or two would be a good start, I’ve had pretty good luck with freezing it. But now…

I am at a total loss of what to do with oh, 16 pounds of potatoes! We were mulling over:

  1. Some perogies. I was thinking of amking up some roasted garlic/mashed potato perogies. Maybe some cheddar cheese ones, too?
  2. Potato leek soup, perhaps?
  3. Hi, Opal!
  4. Chicken pot pies with a mashed potato crust on top.
    OK, That’s pretty much it. Anyone have a perogy recipe? (particularly the dough)

Any suggestions?

Danish Hash
Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-8 People

5-10 Peeled and boiled potatoes
1 Lb. of cooked ham
1-3 Yellow onions
1/2 Cube butter
1/4-1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Warm a large skillet over low heat.
Chop the potatoes into small cubes.
Melt butter in the pan and add the potatoes.
Cut the onions into small dice and add to the pan.
Cube the ham and add after the onions have cooked.
Add salt to taste and continue to cook the mix.
Add extra butter if the pan dries out.
Hash is finished when potatoes are browned.
Top with poached or fried eggs.
Some grated Monterey Jack cheese is also good.
Note: I hate onions in my hash browns. Yet, I love this recipe. Go figure.

Shoestring Potatoes, Home Fries and Hash Browns.
Each shall be dealt with in turn. First of all;

Shoestring Potatoes:

I personally recommend peeling any potatoes that you are going to fry, the jacket can add a quite bitter flavor and the extra nutrients obtained therefrom are minimal. In addition, all of the following recipes call out for Russet potatoes, use any other types at your own risk.

Grate at least two large, peeled potatoes per person. When grating, use long strokes across the surface of the grater. A back and forth motion will create snippets that turn into mush in the frying pan. Long strokes will give you the threads than make for a perfect breakfast. Beware of food processors, they will create the short threads that are unacceptable. Once the potatoes are grated, place them in a colander or sieve and wash them thoroughly. This is critical for success. Similar to rice, wash the spuds until the water is clear. With your hands, squeeze the threads occasionally to remove the unwanted starch. At this point the potatoes may be stored submerged in water for a day or two. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and, for best results, dry them as well. Use a clean cloth towel or a quantity of paper towels and wring them out completely. It has occurred to me that a salad spinner may work perfectly for this process. While drying the washed and grated potatoes, heat a large skillet to near smoking temperature. Since we are not talking about health food here, use butter, you may mix it with a little oil too, but if you don't use butter (or at least a VERY high quality margarine) you will get slop. When the butter begins to foam in the pan, add the washed and dried shoestring potatoes. Avoid cooling the pan by adding too many of the spuds at once. Cover the bottom of the pan completely to obtain the maximum area of crust and use a spatula to scrape any threads that may have stuck to the sides of the pan back onto the heap. Salt the potatoes while they cook. This is essential. If you do not salt them while they cook, there is no amount of salt that you can add at the table to achieve the correct flavor. Under NO circumstances should you EVER press down on the heap of threads with the back of your spatula. If you do, just throw the pan out and start over. You will not speed up the cooking process by squashing them, and will merely create a slab of library paste. Similarly, DO NOT cover the pan while the potatoes cook, this will turn them to mush as well. Periodically scrape underneath the pile of threads to loosen them and prevent them from sticking to the pan. Once in a while tilt the skillet in various directions to ensure that the melted butter has reached all corners of the pan. If it does not, add more butter or oil. To create the perfect pan of fried potatoes you will want to flip them en masse like a pancake, by tossing them in the air and catching them in the pan again. This takes some practice but makes for the perfect crust. Beware of any hot, splashing liquids when flipping the potatoes. Whatever you do, avoid breaking up the crust when turning them. Prior to flipping the pan of spuds, dot the uncooked side with a few pats of butter. Salt the spuds after flipping them. It is better to nearly burn the spuds than it is to serve them undercooked. Avoid filching the crust while the other side crisps.

(Incidentally, the washed, uncooked threads are perfect for making potato pancakes or “Latkes” as well.)
Home Fries:

For perfect Home Fries it is critical to start with partially cooked potatoes. Cooking the potatoes can be done the night before. Boil a pot of salted water while peeling the potatoes. As soon as the water boils add the spuds. If you have vastly different sized potatoes, cut the larger ones down to the same size as the smaller ones. Keep the spuds in the largest pieces possible and cook them slowly. Large pieces will cook slower and allow you to catch them when they are cooked approximately two-thirds of the way. If the potatoes are flaking, they are overcooked. They should be firm and not slide off of the fork when pulled from the water. Cut the spuds into medium to thin slices and add them to a large and nearly smoking hot skillet. Use butter to fry them, and perhaps a little oil too. Salt them as they cook and avoid turning them too often as this tends to break them up a bit. Brown them well and drain them on a paper towel if they seem too oily after cooking. Tilting the pan prior to removal is a good way of draining them.

Hash Browns:

The technical definition of “hashed” anything involves the addition of some milk, half and half or cream during the final stages of cooking (see recipes for corned or roast beef hash). The milk caseins (what makes milk white) contribute to the browning of the spuds and gives them a moist, rich flavor and texture. Follow the recipe for home fries and dice or slice the potatoes as you see fit. Salt them as they cook and at the very last stage of preparation splash about one quarter to one half of a cup of dairy into the pan. Do not cover them so as to allow the dairy to evaporate. Be careful not to scorch the pan at this point. If your skillet is not completely seasoned, you may experience some sticking as well.
Notes: Feel free to ruin any of the above recipes by adding onion, grated carrot or other frou-frou ingredients. Being of Danish descent, this is a meat and potatoes world as far as I’m concerned. Top any of the above cooked spuds with some finely grated Monterey Jack cheese and garnish with chopped parsley if you are trying to impress your guests. If you have not tried mashing a poached or sunny side up egg into your spuds you have not yet lived. Serve with Jimmy Dean silver label sage recipe sausage, Swift’s Premium skinless beef link sausages (I can’t believe I’m recommending a frozen food!) or a rasher of apple wood smoked bacon on the side. Enjoy!
Mashed Potatoes

Preparation time: minutes

Serves: 4 People

4-6 Russett potatoes
1/2-1 Cup Milk or half and half
1 Cube Butter
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Ground white pepper
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into large pieces if a shortened cooking time is required. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cover tightly. Be careful not to overcook the potatoes. They should still be slightly firm and not shedding or flaking. (Overcooking the potatoes causes the starches to swell and adds a grainy texture to the spuds.) Properly cooked potatoes will not slide off of the fork when speared. Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add the salt, spices and half of the butter and milk. Mash thoroughly without overworking the mix. The potatoes should still be fluffy. Adjust salt, milk and butter to taste as you work the spuds. You should not be able to taste the onion or garlic powders.
Note: Fried mashed potato patties are a perfect way to use the leftovers in the morning.

I have had people tell me that this recipe tastes better than their own mother’s. This was just before they were struck by lightning, of course. The secret is using onion pulp and crushed garlic among other things. Please be sure to use either home made or Bestfoods/Hellman’s Mayonnaise when you make this dish. Serve warm if possible for the best flavor.
Potato Salad
Classic Side Dish
Preparation time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4-8 People

6-8 Large Russet potatoes
3-4 Hard boiled eggs
2-3 Green onions
½-¾ Cup Bestfoods or Hellman’s Mayonnaise
1 Small yellow onion
1 Medium clove garlic
1 Dill pickle
1Tbs Sweet pickle relish
½-1½ Tbs Yellow or brown mustard
½ Tbs Dill pickle brine
½ Tbs Lemon juice
½ Tbs Sweet pickle juice
½ Tsp Ground celery seed
¼-½ Tbs Salt
¼ Tsp Ground white pepper
¼ Paprika for garnish
Dash of Crystal™ hot sauce

Boil the peeled potatoes in well salted water. It is better to leave them in one piece unless you are in a hurry or will be able to monitor them carefully during the cooking process. Cut up potatoes will cook much faster and become mushy.

While the potatoes cook, hard boil the eggs. Start the eggs in a large quantity of cold water and bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat and leave for eight minutes. Rinse under cold water for at least three to five minutes. Peel them immediately and reserve.

Mix all of the spices and mustard with the Mayonnaise. Add the sweet pickle relish and finely chopped dill pickle. Cut up the green onions using equal parts of the green and white sections. Peel and grate the yellow onion into a fine pulp and stir into the Mayonnaise. Crush the clove of garlic and add with all of the other juices and liquids. Sample for balance and salt to taste. Drain the potatoes once they are medium soft and still hang on the fork when speared.

Once the Mayonnaise is seasoned correctly, cut up the potatoes into fork sized cubes. Stir these into the Mayonnaise gently to avoid breaking them up too much. If the salad is too dry adjust the amount of Mayonnaise. If it is over seasoned you may cut it with a little sour cream to correct the flavor (if vitally necessary). Cut the eggs into pieces and fold gently into the salad. The top of the salad may be decorated with wedges if desired.

Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and a border of fine chopped parsley around the edge if desired. Serve warm if possible.
Note: You should not be able to taste the garlic in this recipe. It should only serve to round out the flavor of the dish. The less time between preparation and service the more garlic you may want to use. Keep in mind that the garlic will add more flavor the longer it is allowed to “marry” up to the salad.

Man, you GOT to hope he’s not typing all that shit out.

I was thinking exactly the same thing! Holy cow, Zenster, you came through for me more than I could have expected! thanks :slight_smile: