Category Archives: Potatoes

Mexican Venison Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Even though we still occasionally eat cheese, with the help of those lactase pills, I don’t use it as much anymore, looking for ways to eat the kinds of things we like without it. I had some venison chorizo in the freezer from the day I made that frittata, and these tacos seemed like a good follow-up use for it.

I’m going to cooked the diced potatoes in a cast iron skillet without boiling them first. Kind of like how I cook raw fried potatoes, only those are sliced. I want both the chorizo and the potatoes to have some crispiness, although I will mash a little of the potatoes into the meat to get those chorizo spices into the potatoes, too. I still have some roasted poblano peppers in the freezer from last summer’s garden, so a few of those will go in as well. In place of crema to cool it down, I’m using some ready-made guacamole and mild salsa.

I’m still thinking whether to use white corn tortillas (my preference) or flour tortillas; I have both, so I guess it will be a mealtime decision, or it will be a to each his own meal.

Tonight, we both had white corn tortillas; tomorrow, whole wheat flour tortillas (because, of course, I made too much).

Mexican Venison Chorizo and Potato Tacos

  • Servings: more than two people can eat!
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 1 lb venison-pork chorizo (recipe) or any Mexican chorizo
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers, diced
  • 1 lb potatoes, diced (I used red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled)
  • 1 medium to large yellow or white onion, chopped
  • oil and butter, as needed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • taco-sized tortillas, corn or flour
  • toppings: avocado or guacamole, salsa, crema, lettuce or fresh cilantro
Preparation
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, depending on the fat content of your chorizo. Mine is very lean. When the pan and oil are hot, brown the chorizo, breaking it up with a fork or wooden spoon. Stir in chopped poblanos and let cook until the meat is browned well and any moisture is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove chorizo to a platter.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add another two tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of butter until the butter is melted. Add diced potatoes and onions to the pan, spreading out to a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and turn potatoes over to brown other side. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done and lightly browned.
  3. Return chorizo to pan and stir in, scraping up any browned bits of potato and meat, mashing some of the potato with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder and Sweet Potato Hash

A snowy cold January Sunday seemed like a good day to have the oven on for eight hours.

I usually make pulled pork in a slow-cooker (about 5-6 hours on high), but was in the mood for some crispy pork to put in wraps with a little sweet potato hash. I followed this recipe from Serious Eats, which also allowed me to use that nice big baking sheet and rack that I used for the Thanksgiving spatchcocked turkey, and the recipe couldn’t be any simpler to follow—just an oven temperature + a length of time + a little salt and pepper. Unlike the original recipe, I used the top or butt portion of the shoulder, not the picnic portion with the shank bone, so I’m guessing my 8 lb shoulder, with just a blade bone, had more meat on it. Neither did I use a shoulder with the skin attached, which I don’t really want, but it had a good fat cap that turned out nice and crispy by the end of the cooking time.

I wanted something different than the common barbecue sauces, and decided on some oven-roasted sweet potato hash. It was a good call.

I did make a drizzling sauce of chipotles in adobo sauce whizzed up in the blender with honey and a little olive oil. Just a little of that goes a long way, but it was an interesting flavor alongside the sweet potatoes. Be sure to get a close up view of the roasted pork below and notice how much leftover pork we have!

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder and Sweet Potato Hash

  • Servings: 8 lbs of meat serves a lot of people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 250°; place a sheet of parchment paper over rack on rimmed baking pan.

Ingredients
  • 1 pork shoulder, about 8 lbs, either the butt or picnic cut will do; get one with the skin on if you like that
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium onions, halved then sliced
  • olive oil for tossing vegetables
  • Optional: your favorite herbs for tossing vegetables
  • Optional: tortillas, shredded lettuce, sauce
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven at around 7:30 A.M.
  2. Salt and pepper the roast all over and place roast on parchment on roasting rack.
  3. Place roast in oven at 8:00 A.M. and set timer for 8 hours. It will be done at 4:00 P.M.
  4. Remove roast and loosely cover with foil while you make the potatoes.
  5. Raise oven temperature to 400°; meanwhile toss diced potatoes and onion with olive oil to coat. Add herbs if desired.
  6. Spread potatoes and onions on parchment-lined baking pan and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until browned and beginning to get crispy.
  7. Alternatively you could cook the hash in a cast iron skillet.
  8. Shred the meat with forks, trying not to eat all the crispy edges yourself.
  9. Pile shredded meat, potatoes, and some shredded lettuce in the tortillas of your choice. Good as is or with some drizzling sauce.

Drizzling sauce (hot): In a blender pulse until smooth, 1 small can chipotles in adobo sauce, 2-3 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons olive oil. You can adjust taste with salt and a splash of vinegar—I did.

Save

Save

Save

Dishing Out the Holiday Food

First, I have a hard time calling Memorial Day a holiday, having had a parent die in a war, but while it’s not all fireworks and getting drunk around here, I do make food like I would make for any seasonal celebration.

Since there are just the two of us here, I can’t justify making a feast like what a big gathering might have, so I’m making three good meals and spreading them out over the three days of the long weekend. Yesterday, we had potato salad—a big favorite around here—with a grilled venison backstrap. No dessert, because, well, we think of potato salad as dessert, itself!

Tomorrow, it will just be your typical grilled burgers with skewers of grilled summer squash, your choice of yesterday’s potato salad or today’s slaw, and a little leftover dessert from today.

Today, I’m grilling some baby back ribs, brined in an orange-Asian marinade and basted with a spicy orange-Asian glaze. Cole slaw for a side and for dessert, a blueberry clafoutis. The ribs are not going to be like the last ones, cooked low and slow with a charcoal snake, but cooked over an indirect higher heat, around 350°-400° for two hours, periodically basted with the glaze. They are more of a wet rib, but one that doesn’t require a thick drippy sauce. The glaze cooks down to a thick, sticky coating that complements the marinated pork.

Baby Back Ribs with Orange-Asian Glaze

  • Servings: 1 rack of ribs, about 3 lbs
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Overnight brine/marinade:
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 -2 tablespoons grated garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and pour over ribs in large glass dish or in sealable plastic bags. I cut my rack in half and put each half in a plastic bag, dividing the marinade between them. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, removing from refrigerator about 1/2 hour before cooking.

Orange-Asian Grilling Glaze:
  • 2 cups orange juice, reduced over medium-high heat to 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Huy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic sauce

After orange juice is reduced by half, remove to a measuring cup, then stir in other ingredients. Use to baste the ribs every 15 minutes on the grill.

Cooking the ribs:

1 three lb rack of pork back ribs, marinated overnight

Orange-Asian glaze

  1. Set up your grill for indirect cooking, so that you have enough coals for at least two hours. I started with 50 coals in the chimney starter, then dropped about ten more coals on the ash pile to make sure it would keep going.
  2. Place the marinated ribs opposite the heated side of the grill and close the cover. It should come up to about 400° and drop to around 350° by the end of the second hour. Keep in mind that the temperature drops every time you open the lid to baste the ribs.
  3. Set one timer for 1 1/2 hours and another timer for 15 minutes. Baste the ribs with the glaze every 15 minutes, resetting that timer. If after 1 1/2 hours, you think the ribs could go longer, try another half hour. I felt that the full two hours was good and that more time would not add anything significant to the recipe.

The ribs were moist and tender inside, sticky and spicy outside, without any added sugar, just the natural sugars in the orange juice.

Blueberry Clafoutis: See the recipe for Pear Clafoutis and substitute one pint of fresh blueberries for the pears.

Are these the “Special Potatoes”?

We were watching Sunday night’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown visit to the Greek islands and twice he mentioned a “special potatoes” dish, as if it always appears with Greek meals. After the second mention, we looked at each other and asked “What the heck are special potatoes?” He never said, and I still don’t know, but I’m pretending that he meant these roasted potatoes with garlic, lemon, and oregano. We’re not having lamb or fish or any meat you might find in Greece—just burgers—and it is cold and rainy, instead of sunny and beachside, but maybe these potatoes will add a little sunshine to an otherwise ordinary meal.

And, by the way, it was a really lovely episode, very relaxing and beautiful, like you expect a vacation to be, and it was nice to see Bourdain being domestic, making food for his friends.

I’m following the recipe on Epicurious without variation, even down to using fresh lemon juice and fresh oregano. I do have doubts that 3 pounds of potatoes will fit nicely in the suggested 9″ x 13″ dish without being crowded, and the roasting time seems short, but I’ll give it a chance. If you read the comments below the original recipe, you will find a few complaints, but I have advice about those:

  1. Some readers complained about the potatoes coming out mushy, but you need to use baking potatoes and you need to cut them into the suggested size of 1.5″ chunks. Don’t guess; get a ruler. These are big chunks that stand up to the cooking and all the liquids in the recipe (olive oil, chicken stock, lemon juice) without becoming mushy.
  2. Many readers thought the 1/2 cup of olive oil was too much, but I think they didn’t weigh their potatoes. Three pounds is a lot—it took 4 large bakers to reach 3 lbs—1/2 cup of oil was not too much.

Get a scale and a ruler and make sure you use baking  potatoes.

Epicurious: Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 400°

Ingredients:

3 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 1.5″ chunks

1/2 cup olive oil (I used extra-virgin)

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.5 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon salt

coarse ground black pepper, to cover lightly

1/2 cup chicken stock (or beef is suggested)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with oil, garlic, dried oregano, and salt. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with pepper—they were a little crowded and not quite in the single layer called for. I would use a larger dish next time for more browning.
  2. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, toss and bake for 10 minutes more.
  4. Add the lemon juice, toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. You can achieve more browning by letting them roast for 5-10 minutes more or you can put them under a broiler. I let mine go 5 minutes longer after adding the stock and after adding the juice and they were still not mushy—baking potatoes can stand up to it.
  5. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and serve at once.

This is a very nice potato dish that would work for a variety of meals, for friends, family or company. Glamorous and flavorful, even with burgers.