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Oven browned potatoes

Help me out folks!

My grandma made the most amazing potatoes when we used to have family gatherings. Sadly, I was too young to cook and get the method and she died years ago.

These potatoes were peeled and cut into say quarters and then baked in some kind of I'm guessing animal fat which would result in a nice golden brown crust on them?

Grandma was Austrian, if that sheds any light.

I would love to be able to make them this Christmas.

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  1. We frequently enjoy this recipe I found on a BBQ website about 10 years ago.

    Cast Iron Skillet Baked Potatoes

    These potatoes are baked, cut side down in a cast iron skillet. This results in a potato with a slightly golden brown crust on the cut side and it has a delicious, roasted flavor.

    4 Tbsp cooking oil
    1/4 tsp dried rosemary
    1/8 tsp seasoning salt or kosher salt
    3 or 4 medium size potatoes, sliced in half length wise

    In a room temperature, about a 10-inch size cast iron skillet, add the oil and spread evenly over bottom. Sprinkle rosemary and salt evenly over the oil.

    Scrub and dry the potatoes. Leave potato skins on. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise, through widest part of potato. Place potatoes, cut side down, one layer deep in bottom of cast iron skillet. Press down on potatoes so that the cut side is coated in oil.

    Place cold skillet of potatoes in cold oven. Set oven to 400F and bake for 45-minutes. At end of cooking time, pierce with fork to test for doneness.

    Potatoes can be served with sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      Antilope, what kind of potatoes are you using? I have available to me: Russet (baking), white boiling potatoes, new red or white skinned potatoes, fingerlings and yellow flesh (i.e. Yukon Gold).

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        I usually use Russet potatoes. I haven't tried other kinds in this recipe.

      2. re: Antilope

        Although not quite what I'm looking for, the recipe sounds really good. Thanks for sharing :)

        1. re: salsailsa

          I tried a similar method to this that I found on these boards a while back except I used a baking sheet and they were so very good. I think I had searched how to speed up oven baking time for potatoes. I think a cast iron would make them even better.

          1. re: hheath9h

            I jump-start mine in the microwave. Toss them in whole, and cook them until they are hot but not starting to soften. Obviously how long that is depends on your microwave and the size of the potatoes. Then I quarter them, toss them in some oil and roast them at about 380, convection. I like using the dry, floury potatoes best - they seem to get a crisp outside and fluffy inside. Kind of like a big fat deep-fried wedge.

      3. You can buy duck fat on Amazon.com. DF makes a delicious oven roasted potato.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Berheenia

          I'd use the 'waxiest' potatoes you can find. Peel. Cut Into quarters then into barely simmering unsalted water for about twenty-thirty minutes until el dente. Drain pat dry. Gently toss/fold w/ duck fat or any animal fat of best OO. Into hot preheated oven 375-400F. Watch until they are as golden as you want them. Into bowl. Pinch of S&P and, (maybe sounds strange) a light drizzle of fresh squeezed lemon juice and some chopped fresh parsley. Served immediately.

          1. re: Puffin3

            What is considered to be a waxy potato?

            1. re: salsailsa

              A spud with tight, shiny skin- Yukon Golds would be great.

              1. re: Hobbert

                Also waxy: red-skinned ones like Red Bliss. All-purpose potatoes will work too, though they are neither waxy nor starchy/fluffy, but somewhere between the two.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Yukon Golds are AP, not waxy, fwiw. Waxier potatoes do roast better.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Yep, red potatoes are probably better for this application. I like the taste of YG's, though.

          2. She very probably cooked them in goose fat. Goose would be typical holiday fair in southern Germany, Austria, and mittel Europa. (Also good for cooking latkes in Jewish households living far afield of olive oil areas....) Duck fat would be an appropriate substitute (but, here's a hint: Chanukah is a time when geese are more readily available in markets, and it's worth it to get a goose to roast just for the rendered fat - you will get LOTS of it and it freezes for ages.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              The only thing is that eating goose isn't that common where I'm from. Perhaps duck? Thanks for the info.

              1. re: salsailsa

                As I wrote, duck fat would be an appropriate substitute.

            2. Search YouTube for "Ofen Kartoffeln" - German for "oven potatoes", maybe something will look familiar.

              1. The recipe I use from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook is for Franconia Potatoes:

                Pare medium potatoes. Cook 10 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. Put in pan with meat you are roasting and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Baste several times with the fat in the pan.

                I have made these many times without meat, just basting frequently with butter or bacon fat. I think you could also cut the potatoes into chunks, but don't roast for an hour then--just keep piercing with a knife and remove from the oven when soft.

                1. My Mom made oven-fried potatoes, which were wonderful. Peeled Russets, quartered, in a rectangular Pyrex dish (I wouldn't use this anymore) and about a half-inch of oil. (I'm sure lard, duck or goose fat would be better). Cook in a medium-hot oven, turning a couple of times.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mwhitmore

                    The solid-at-room-temperature fats produce a superior texture you can't get with most oils.

                  2. You'll probably want to do a side-by-side comparison of potatoes that have been par-boiled before roasting, and those that are cooked entirely in the oven. In either case, toss them in melted fat - bacon or chicken may be the easiest and I suspect grandma saved and used the fat from whatever she cooked. At least 375F, but up to 450 if the potatoes are par-cooked. Salt, pepper, herbs depend on the type and amount of fat used. Don't crowd the potatoes in the pan. Turn them a few times to brown at least 2 sides.

                    1. Thank you so much for all of the great replies. I certainly have some experimenting to do!

                      I wish I could get duck fat easily here. I don't think amazon.com can ship it to Canada as it's an animal product.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: salsailsa

                        How about chicken fat? (Aka schmaltz.)

                        1. re: Karl S

                          I called a local butcher- could only get beef or pork fat. I'll have to try rendering my own schmaltz.

                          1. re: salsailsa

                            Make a batch of chicken stock. Chill and the fat will float to the top. Scrape off the fat and use the stock for whatever or freeze it for later.

                            2 for 1.

                      2. I do something very similar that I created out of my head. Since I had an Austrian great-grandmother I never met, maybe its in the genes. Maybe it is close to what you want. I didn't use animal fat, but I did use olive oil. I suspect the duck fat or even schmalz would work. I don't have a real recipe as I did this initially as an experiment.

                        Preheat oven to 400F.

                        Put some salt and your favorite seasoning into a mixing bowl. I use Joe's Stuff. Salt and pepper would be enough. Add a bit of olive oil and stir so the seasonings and salt are well mixed (the seasonings are kind of suspended in the oil).

                        Peel potatoes can cut into chunks about 1 - 1 1/2 inch cubes.

                        Toss the potatoes into the sauce and oil bowl and mix to thoroughly cover them. (Sometimes I add a little more seasoning -- you need to play around with what you want.)

                        Place on a cookie sheet or similar. Make sure they are pretty well spread apart.

                        Bake in preheated oven at 400 until they are crispy and the insides are done to your liking. I poke them when they start to look brown and done.

                        1. You can make delicious, sweet/crisp outside fluffy inside potatoes really easily without exotic ingredients or much work. Use waxy potatoes, I think Yukon Gold work best. Scrub the skin, then quarter them and steam them 'til they're starting to soften but are not quite ready to eat. Put them (dry) into a baking pan, drizzle generously with olive oil and a good salt. Toss in some rosemary if you want, if not, don't worry about it. Put in a 350 or more oven, toss after 15 minutes with a spatula so they don't stick, roast another 10-15 minutes. They should be carmelized where they touched the pan and be sweet/savory delicious. Easy peasy. If you're roasting something else at the same time they co-exist in the oven very peacefully, even in the same pan, just don't crowd them too much or they'll steam instead of roasting.

                          1. Most of the comments recommend putting the potatoes into a preheated oven. I can't remember where I read it but I have had better success putting quartered, parboiled potatoes into an oiled pan that had been preheated in the oven. This approach produces the best crispy exterior.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mexivilla

                              Thanks for the tip-I think I'm going do as Greygarious suggested and try a side by side comparison of parboiled/non par parboiled.

                              1. re: salsailsa

                                Use 'waxy' potatoes b/c 'starchy' potatoes like Idaho's are basically sponges that will absorb fat/butter. While waxy potatoes will tend to brown on the outside but retain their 'potatoeness' flavor/texture.