Cracked potatoes: fun with food

Tom brought home some lovely little Yukon gold potatoes last week. They were the size of golf balls, about two bites each. I decided to bash the heck out of them.

When you whack a whole, skin-on potato with just the right amount of force, they crack but remain otherwise intact, enabling the cooking liquid to moisten the interiors without turning the potatoes to mush.

Then there’s the aggression-releasing rush that always comes with smashing things with virtuous intent. I use the flat side of my tenderizing mallet, but a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet will work quite well too.

As long as the potatoes are small, and roughly the same size, any type will do. Baby reds are terrific this way, as are fingerlings. It’s important to leave the skins on, or you’ll end up with mashed potatoes.

I cook them in olive oil and chicken stock; use vegetable stock for a vegetarian or vegan dish. The potato skins get brown and crispy, and the potato flesh becomes creamy and flavorful from the stock.

I made a double batch, and served them with some chive-pistachio pesto mixed with sour cream. They’re also a perfect accompaniment to roast chicken with pan sauce, but can also stand on their own.

The next night, I cut the leftover potatoes in half horizontally and browned them, cut sides down, in a little olive oil in a hot pan. The salty, crispy bites were just the thing with our turkey burgers.

Cracked Potatoes
serves 4

1 1/4 pounds small whole potatoes
1 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Scrub the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Dry them well. Place a potato on the cutting board and give it a good whack with a mallet. The goal is to initiate a crack or two, not to mash the potato into oblivion. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Drizzle the oil in the bottom of a large skillet (preferably nonstick) and add the potatoes. It’s important that the potatoes fit in one layer; they won’t brown if they don’t have contact with the bottom of the pan. Season well with salt and pepper.

Pour enough chicken stock to come up halfway up the potatoes. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook for about 30 minutes until the taters are tender and the liquid is mostly evaporated. (Check after 20 minutes of cooking; if the liquid evaporates before the potatoes are tender, add 1/2 cup or so more.)

Remove the lid and cook over medium-high heat until the potatoes are nicely browned on the bottom. You can serve them right a way, or flip the potatoes to brown on the second side.

To cook any leftovers, split the potatoes in half horizontally. Warm a little olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until well browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.


About Rivertree kitchen

I am a freelance editor with a specialty in cookbook editing. I've written two small cookbooks (50 Best Sundaes and 50 Best Cookies) and have edited more than 200. Despite my immersion in recipes, my favorite way to cook is to see what's in the fridge and wing it. I live with my husband and two dogs in rural Wisconsin. Husband (Tom) and son (Luke) are talented cooks themselves. All the photographs in this blog are my own creations. I'm a neophyte in the world of food photography (as if you couldn't tell), but I still claim blushing ownership of the pix you see here. If you want to reprint them (I can't imagine why), please give credit, if for no other reason than to pass on the blame.
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7 Responses to Cracked potatoes: fun with food

  1. Daisy S. says:

    Oh jeez these look so goooooood. Potatoes are magic, are they not?

  2. Thanks, hon. Potatoes are indeed fabulous.

  3. debjani says:

    This just made me hungry again, right after supper! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Braised chicken and bell peppers | Rivertree kitchen

  5. blowingoffsteamandmore says:

    I did a quick search for cracked potatoes and discovered your recipe! I am making them tonight, thanks!

    • blowingoffsteamandmore says:

      Made them for dinner and they were easy (except for the few that I smashed into oblivion) and delicious! Thanks again!

  6. Ah yes. There is that delicate balance between hitting them hard enough to crack them and smashing them to smithereens. Been there. So glad you liked them.

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