Cooking Potatoes


Cooking Potatoes

The eating habits of most nations place a great deal of importance on a category of foods we call starches. In fact, for a large portion of the world’s peoples, starch is the mainstay of the diet and supplies most of the day’s calories. In North America and Europe, the most important starches are potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. It is true that we do not depend on these high-carbohydrate foods as much as many of the world’s people do who eat far less meat than we do. Nevertheless, even as diet fashions and fads come and go, starches appear at nearly all our meals. Because we eat them often and have devised a great many ways of preparing them, starchy foods require extra study beyond that which we have given to other vegetables. In classical cuisine,the potato is one of the most important of all foods.To many of us today, potatoes are considered an ordinary and humble food. Considering how important the potato is in the cuisines of Europe and North America, it is surprising to think that this vegetable wasn’t widely used until the last half of the eighteenth century. Although the potato had been brought to Europe from the New World a few hundred years earlier, it wasn’t until then that an army pharmacist named Antoine-Auguste Parmentier began promoting its use.To this day,many classical recipes featuring the potato are called Parmentier. Some potato recipes are simple,but many are complex and use a combination of cooking methods.For example, to make potato croquettes, you must first boil or steam the potatoes,purée them and combine the purée with other ingredients,shape them,bread them,and,finally,deep-fry them.

Hungarian Potatoes

4 oz (125 g) ;Butter
8 oz (250 g) Onion, chopped
2 tsp(10 mL) Paprika
1 lb (500 g) Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
5 lb (2.5 kg)Potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 qt (1 L) Chicken or beef stock, hot
to taste Salt
to taste Pepper
1⁄2 cup (125 mL)Chopped parsley

P r o c e d u r e
1. Heat the butter a large saucepan and add the onion and paprika. Cook until onion is soft.
2. Add the tomatoes and potatoes. Pour in enough stock just to cover the potatoes. Add a small amount of salt (about 2 tsp/10 mL), but undersalt because liquid will reduce.
3. Simmer until potatoes are cooked and liquid is mostly evaporated or absorbed. Stir gently from time to time.
4. Season to taste.
5. Garnish with chopped parsley at service time.

V A R I A T I O N
Bouillon Potatoes
Prepare as in basic recipe but omit paprika and tomatoes. Slice onion instead of chopping it, and sauté 6 oz (175 g) carrot, cut julienne, with the onion. Trim the potatoes into portion–size pieces instead of slicing them.

Potato and Eggplant Stew with Cilantro

2 fl oz (60 mL) Vegetable oil
2 tsp (10 mL) Cumin seeds
12 oz (337 mL) Onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp (30 mL) Finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp (30 mL) Grated fresh ginger root
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) Turmeric
11⁄2 lb (750 g) Eggplant, peeled, medium dice
2 lb (1 kg) Potatoes, medium dice
1 lb (500 g) Tomatoes, canned, chopped, with their juice
6 fl oz (180 mL) Water
4 tbsp (60 mL) Chopped fresh cilantro
to taste Salt

P r o c e d u r e
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepot over moderate heat.
2. Add the cumin. Cook until the seeds are aromatic and start to darken, about 15 to 20 seconds.
3. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Sauté until the onions are soft and lightly browned.
4. Add the eggplant and stir together with the onion. Sauté 2 minutes.
5. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and water. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally, and add a little more water if the potatoes become dry.
6. Stir in the cilantro.
7. Season with salt.

Roasted New Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic

3 lb 1.5 kg New potatoes, fingerling potatoes, or other small potatoes
3 fl oz (90 mL) Olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL )Fresh thyme
2 tbsp (30 mL) Finely chopped garlic
2 tsp (10 mL ) Salt

P r o c e d u r e
1. Wash the potatoes, drain, and let dry.
2. Cut round potatoes in half, or, if using small fingerlings, leave them whole.
3. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan.
4. Pour the oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with the herbs, garlic, and salt. Toss or mix so all the potatoes are coated.
5. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.

Gratin Dauphinoise

3 lb (1.4 kg ) Potatoes
to taste Salt
to taste White pepper
to taste Nutmeg
1⁄2 lb (225 g) Gruyère cheese, grated
1 pt (500 mL) Milk
1 cup (250 mL) Heavy cream
3 Egg yolks

P r o c e d u r e
1. Peel and eye the potatoes. Cut into very thin slices.
2. Place some of the potatoes in a layer in a buttered baking pan. Season with salt, pepper, and a very small amount of nutmeg. Sprinkle with a little of the cheese. Repeat until all the potatoes and about three-fourths of the cheese are used up.
3. Combine the milk and half the cream and heat to a simmer. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining cream. Slowly stir in the hot milk mixture.
4. Pour the milk mixture over the potatoes. Top with remaining cheese.
5. Bake uncovered at 350°F (175°C) until done, about 45–60 minutes.
V A R I A T I O N
Savoyarde Potatoes Prepare as above, but use chicken stock instead of milk.

Potatoes au Gratin

71⁄2 lb (3.5 kg) Potatoes
2 qt (2 L) Cheddar Cheese Sauce hot
2⁄3 cup (150 mL) Dry bread crumbs
2 tsp (10 mL) Paprika
2 oz (60 g )Butter, melted (optional)
Note: Cream sauce may be used instead of cheese sauce. Grated cheese (cheddar or parmesan) may be sprinkled over the potatoes before topping them with bread crumbs.

P r o c e d u r e
1. Scrub the potatoes and simmer or steam them until tender but still firm.
2. Drain and spread on sheet pan to cool.
3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into uniform 3⁄8-in. (1-cm) dice.
4. Combine with the hot cheese sauce in a baking pan.
5. Mix the bread crumbs and paprika and sprinkle over the potatoes. Drizzle the butter evenly over the top.
6. Bake at 350°F (175°C) about 30 minutes, until hot and browned.

Lyonnaise Potatoes

61⁄2 lb (3 kg) Boiled potatoes, cooled and peeled
11⁄2 lb (700 g )Onions
8 oz (225 g) Clarified butter, vegetable oil, or mixture of oil and butter
to taste Salt
to taste White pepper

P r o c e d u r e
1. Cut the potatoes into slices about 1⁄4 in. (1⁄2 cm) thick.
2. Peel the onions, cut in half lengthwise, and slice into julienne.
3. Heat half the fat in a sauté pan and sauté the onions until they are golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Put the rest of the fat into the pan. Set the pan on high heat and add the potatoes.
5. Sauté the potatoes, tossing them in the pan until well browned on all sides.
6. Add the onions and continue to sauté for another minute, until onions and potatoes well mixed and the flavors are blended.
7. Season to taste.

V A R I A T I O N S:
Home Fries or American Fries
Prepare as in basic recipe, but omit onions.
Potatoes O’Brien
Cook 10 oz (300 g) diced bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Sauté 10 oz onion (300 g), cut in fine dice, and 10 oz (300 g) green bell pepper, cut in fine dice, in bacon fat. Sauté 61⁄2 lb (3 kg) diced potatoes as in basic recipe and add vegetables. Add the crisp bacon and 4 oz (125 g) diced pimiento to finish, and season to taste.

Potato Croquettes with Peppers

3 Small red bell peppers
3 Small green bell peppers
1 lb 7 oz (700 g)Potatoes, peeled
1 oz (25 g) Butter, softened
1 Egg yolk Standard Breading Procedure

P r o c e d u r e
1. Halve the red and green peppers and place under a hot grill until the skin is black and blistered. Cool.
2. Remove the skin and seeds, and cut peppers into 1⁄4-in. (1⁄2-cm) dice.
3. Boil the potatoes and prepare a basic potato purée.
4. Mix the peppers gently with the mashed potato, butter, and egg yolk. Season well.
5. With flour-dusted hands, shape the potato mixture into 36 balls. Set up Standard Breading Procedure and bread the croquettes.
6. Just before service, deep-fry the croquettes at 350°F (175° C). Drain well.

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