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Help me make the perfect home fries

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On weekend mornings I like to cook breakfast. I've perfected every part of my breakfast menu except the home fries. I'd like to have cubes of potato that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. However, every time I make them they stick to the bottom of the pan. I mean they REALLY stick!! The beautiful brown crust gets stuck and I'm left with cooked potatoes but no crispy exterior.

I'm using a cast iron skillet that's been seasoned and I don't have a problem with the skillet when preparing other things so I think it must be a technique issue. I've tried using different types of fat including bacon fat, duck fat, canola oil and butter but they stick no matter what. Has anyone else encountered this issue? Any advice? Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your wise responses!

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  1. 1. Use par boiled potatoes cooked a day before.

    2. Preheat your skillet and fat before adding potatoes.

    3. Increase, or adjust the fat as needed.

    1. What works for me is using the diced potatoes cold from the refrigerator into oiled hot cast iron pan.

      The sticking your experiencing might be coming from the potatoes having too much moisture on them. Maybe try drying them off with a paper towel before putting them in the frying pan.

      Hate to say that when I say "well done" home fries at my golf club for breakfast I know they're deep frying them, but come out perfect for my taste.

      1. Hi all,

        I agree with what the others say.

        Also, you might be trying to move or turn them too soon. Give them a little more time to develop the crust.

        Lucy

        1 Reply
        1. re: I used to know how to cook...

          It's a funny thing, but yes turning them too soon can be a deal breaker.

          I find the best home fries come from leftover baked potatoes and maybe the reason is because there is hardly any moisture left in a baked potatoe.

        2. My skillet is always preheated and I've tried adjusting the amount of fat but I've never tried using par boiled potatoes. Also does the type of potato that I use matter? I've mostly used yukon golds...is there a better type for home fries?

          1 Reply
          1. re: chefematician

            Yukon golds are considered a good choice for frying potatoes, so I suspect that is not the problem. I believe the root of your dilemma is the personal taste....and that of others for any of the problems or preferences for the recommendations or suggestions you will receive. Potato choices for breakfast potatoes is highly regional. In the Northeast, general all purpose(medium starch is the most preferred....mostly russets from Idaho. although Long Island, NY is a prime source for (Eastern) potatoes, I rarely find them available in abundance retail or wholesale. As evident by the following link....low-high starch level potatoes all make home fries.

            My favorite hash browns are made by a place, John's Restaurant, in California. I was told they use Russets. They soak their raw spiral shredded potatoes in water. Maybe you could give that a try. I believe the water helps steam the potatoes and aids in their finished product. The Hash Browns have a perfectly browned crust. soaking in water removes the starch.

          2. this "from raw" is a great basic technique. i also recommend drying the potato slices or chunks off with a paper towel before putting in the skillet. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/home...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme

              I microwave the [cut] potatoes with a little bit of water instead of par-boiling them. Always works and doesn't introduce too much water in the potatoes. I think i saw this on some episode of cook's country....

            2. Here's an older thread that might have some worthwhile discussion in it:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/473612

              1. Use Red or Yukons (not Russets)

                Parboil, then dry

                Use a cast iron grill and enough bacon grease and make sure it's hot.

                Preheat your broiler to about 350F

                Dump in the cubed, parboiled potatoes into your cast iron grill (and whatever else you like putting in, e.g. peppers, onions, etc., or nothing at all, your choice).

                Don't touch them, or move them.

                Just let them fry for a good 3 minutes or so until they are slightly golden.

                Then put your cast iron grill under the broiler for another 2 minutes so they nice and crispy.

                Serve and enjoy.

                1. Emeril Lagasse's cookbook lists Brabant Potatoes. Cube the potatoes, take the ends off, cut the potato into even rectangular shapes, cut the top and bottom off and the sides. Then in 1'2 inch slices and 1/2 inch cubes. Put the potatoes into a sauce pan, add enough water to cover, by about an inch, boil. Cook until they're barely tender- use a knife. should be around 10 minutes. Then left them drain thouroghly on paper towels.
                  Heat some oil in a deep pot, or use your electric fryer, keep the heat at around 360F. Fry the potatoes til golden brown turn them for crispiness on all sides. about 3-4 minutes.

                  Drain and serve hot. These are wonderful with hollandaise sauce!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    The brabant potatoes my hubby loves (are these home fries?) are as follows:
                    slice raw potato in small cubes
                    saute in enough butter to cover the bottom of the non stick pan
                    flip them to evenly brown
                    drain on paper towel, sprinkle with parsley

                  2. Definitely agree with precooking the potatoes. Raw ones have a tendency to stick unless floating in oil. Also, the precooked will give you the crispy outside, fluffy inside. And don't turn them too soon or they will stick. Just give them a nudge and wait until they're ready.

                    1. Thanks everyone. Looks like I'll be par cooking my potatoes and drying them next weekend, as well as not turning them too soon. I'll let you know how they come out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chefematician

                        btw.....before flipping or turning the potatoes.....try shaking and sliding them in the pan. Using a spatula to loosen them up also is not a crime...

                        1. re: chefematician

                          to get them really dry before frying, heat them in a dry pot or skillet on the stove over a medium-high flame...this is what i also i do to remove any excess moisture before adding the fat or liquid to smashed potatoes and it does a much more thorough job than a towel will.

                        2. Update on this weekend's attempt: the par boiling helped a lot and resisting the urge to turn them too soon helped too. I think that I still had a bit too many potatoes in the pan and that need's to be corrected but overall there was a lot of improvement in this week's batch over last weeks. Thanks to all that responded and I'll continue on my quest for the perfect home fries.

                          1. I bake my home fries. I take cubed/diced potatoes mixed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake them in a preheated 450º oven until golden brown on the bottom (about 10-15 minutes). I generally take them out and serve here, but if you want the other side done, just flip the potatoes and cook until golden. For the holidays, I will bake two sheet pans at the same time. I rotate the pans (top to bottom) about halfway thru. I sometimes add chopped rosemary in the last few minutes for extra flavor. Works great.

                            1. We make home fries with our leftover baked potatoes, diced and tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. They become brown and crispy on the outside in just minutes and stay nice and soft inside. Depending on what else I am cooking they either go into a pyrex dish and into a hot oven, or into a hot pan on the stove. I don't have a problem with them sticking.

                              1. I use either fingerlings or yukons cut into 1" cubes. I occasionally roast a duck for dinner so save all the fat in containers in the freezer and will typically use that for a frying medium, with bacon fat or lard as backups if I have no duck fat available. I mince an onion, put the fat in an iron skillet, cook the onion to translucence then add the cubed potatoes cooking over a fairly high heat, turning them often so as not to burn but definitely to caramelize. I'll season with salt during the cooking and either fresh ground black pepper or hot pimenton.
                                With the flavor of the duck fat, the added caramelization of the onion, and the seasoning, this recipe is a great brunch dish!
                                I'll only parboil when using larger cuts of potatoes, like 2" for roasted.

                                1. Red or Yukon Gold medium size, with shiny skins. Boil whole about 35 minutes until very well done. Cool down, the cut into chunks. Cover bottom of skillet with olive oil, add potatoes, and cook at medium heat, shaking pan until browned, about 5-10 minutes, lower heat to low and continue cooking, shaking skillet every now and then for another 10 minutes. Turn off heat, add 1 T butter to pan if potatoes are not too greasy looking - let butter melt under potato layer in cooling pan. Add lots of paprika, a few turns of black pepper and a bit of turmeric. Stir everything up and eat.

                                  1. A cook in upstate NY made the most delicious home fries for customers at the local diner. He taught me this way:

                                    Yukon gold, parboiled on the stove, then drain
                                    Slice into either cubes
                                    Set oven to 425 and line a baking dish with foil
                                    Add cubesto the baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil, s&p and paprika. Roast 25 mins or until fork tender.

                                    I make batches in advance, freeze in portions and then reheat each portion on 400 while I make the rest of breakfast.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      eta: slice into either cubes or rounds