Arsip Tag: potato

potato kugel – smitten kitchen

Among the great Ashkenazi soul food traditions — bagels, lox, chicken noodle soup, challah, brisket and its cousins, pastrami and corned beef — few are more deeply rooted in the communal psyche than kugels, or starch-based puddings that hail from southern Germany. The word kugel, meaning sphere, globe or ball, originally referred to dumplings dropped over a soup pot, the version baked casserole pans became my people’s favorite, always made in vast quantities, served on Shabbat or holidays in squares and usually shoved in the hands of unsuspecting relatives and guests in disposable foil tins on their way home. The smart ones know resistance is futile.

what you'll need

While two kinds are considered staples — noodle and potato — outside my family at least, where my mother claims to this day that she married my father mostly to get his family’s noodle kugel recipe, the potato reigns supreme, likely due to its practicality as an easily reheated side dish that complements any meal worth having.

ready to bake
potato kugel

And though everyone agrees on the ingredients (potatoes, onion, eggs and fat, usually schmaltz or rendered chicken fat, of course), and that the top must be browned crisp and the inside must be tender, if you really want to get people started, ask them how to best achieve this and see if any two agree. An avalanche of eggs (says the food critic Arthur Schwartz), an unholy amount of oil (says nobody who will admit to it), shredding not grinding, grinding not shredding, shredded by hand vs. shredded by machine (usually an intergenerational dispute), wringing the extra moisture out vs. “nope, that’s wrong,” fresh from the oven vs. reheated for best flavor, with matzo meal vs. no matzo meal… are you exhausted yet? I could go on and on.

potato kugel

Me? I call them Lazy Latkes. As has been well-established over the last nine years on this site, I believe potato pancakes are among the earth’s perfect foods and speak of them with a fervor others reserve for bacon or pizza. Lacy mops of shredded potato and onion fried until steamy and tender inside and shatteringly crisp outside, you can have your home fries, they’re the only thing I want under my runny eggs, my son wants with applesauce and my husband wants with sour cream and caviar. And yet, they’re a bit of work, especially because I insist on wringing every droplet of moisture from the potatoes (I’m done when my arms are too tired for another squeeze) and frying them just a few at a time for best quality control.

potato kugel

Potato kugel, the way I make it at least, is fuss-free: no wringing, all the work done in a machine and mixed in one big bowls (usually with my fingers) then piled in a sizzling hot cast-iron skillet (I mean, this is the Smitten Kitchen, after all) and baked until seriously, why aren’t you making this yet?

potato kugel
potato kugel

One year ago: Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble and Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
Two years ago: Parsley Leaf Potatoes and Sweet Potato Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
Three years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Four years ago: Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Five years ago: Apple Latkes
Six years ago: Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake and Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake
Seven years ago: Walnut Tartlets and Cauliflower Gratin
Eight years ago: Tiramisu Cake and Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Nine years ago: Orangettes and Honey-Hoisin Pork Riblets

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
1.5 Years Ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
2.5 Years Ago: Lobster and Potato Salad
3.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Snacking Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Spring Salad with New Potatoes

Potato Kugel

In non-Semitic terms, think of the potato kugel as a massive hash brown with profoundly crispy edges, steamy-soft insides and the showstealing complement to a dinner roast or breakfast eggs. We also like it as a party appetizer with a nice applesauce or fruit chutney or, as we roll around here, creme fraiche, caviar and chives, which is what happens when you marry a Russian. Traditional variations include carrot, zucchini, caramelized onions or garlic as well as the potatoes, but I see no reason to mess with a perfect thing.

Serves about 12

1 large or 2 small yellow onions
3 pounds or about 5 large baking — Russet or Idaho — potatoes, peeled
1/3 cup potato starch*
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil, schmaltz or another oil of your choice

Heat oven to 350°F.

By hand: Chop onions very finely and coarsely grate potatoes.

With a food processor: Blend onions in food processor with regular blade until finely ground. Switch to grating blade and grate potatoes — I like to do this one their sides, for the longest strands.

Both methods: Place onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, pepper and starch evenly over potatoes and toss together with two forks or, as I do it, your very clean hands, evenly coating strands. Break eggs right on top and again use forks or your fingers to work them into the strands, evenly coating the mixture.

Heat a 1/4 cup oil or fat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet** over high heat until very hot. Pour potato-egg mixture into pan carefully (it’s going to splatter) and spread evenly in pan. I like to twist and tousle the top strands a little for a pretty final texture on top. Drizzle with last tablespoon of oil. Bake in heated oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until browned on top and tender in the middle. If top browns too quickly, before center is baked, cover with foil for all but the last two minutes of baking time, though this has never been necessary in my oven.

Serve in squares, either right from the skillet or unmolded onto a platter. Kugel reheats exceptionally well in a warm oven. It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days, and much longer (months, even) in the freezer. I like to defrost it in the fridge before rewarming it in an oven.

* Cornstarch works too. As does flour. Matzo meal is traditional. I like potato starch because it’s the least distracting and lightest. I buy mine from Bob’s Red Mill; usually in a section with other BRM products at just about any store these days (hooray).

** Without a cast-iron — Use a casserole baking dish. Just heat the oil first so it’s hot when the potato mixture lands in it. (You can do this in the oven, but it will take a good 5 minutes to get very hot. Might as well do it in 60 seconds on the stove.)

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potato pizza, even better – smitten kitchen

I have been holding out way too long on giving one of the great Roman pizzas, pizza con potate e rosmarino (which, like most things, sounds much sexier in Italian than the thudful translation of “potato pizza with rosemary”) the adoration-driven revisit it deserves on this site. I first talked about potato pizza here in 2008, but I never felt that the recipe did it justice. Jim Lahey, who had recently blown up everything we knew about making bread with his brilliant no-knead boule, was preparing to open a pizza place and had shared his potato pizza recipe with Martha Stewart, but I’d had trouble with it — the proportions seemed off (not enough potato, a persnickety dough), it was low on details I needed (like how big it was supposed to be), and it had pesky steps (like soaking the potatoes in several changes of ice water, so not fun if one lacks one of those fancy fridges with icemakers). But it wasn’t until went to Rome in 2013 that I realized exactly how far off it was from the ideal. (Don’t worry, Lahey is going to come rescue us in a bit.)

bring your husband to work day
soaking potato coins

Roman pizza con patate is something else. A soft, almost goopy dough, is neither rolled or even tossed in the air like some sort of cartoon, but stretched, pressed, nudged and patted with oiled or floured fingertips translucently thin into a rimmed rectangular pan. Potatoes that have been soaked in salt water until they’re as floppy as deli slices are spread in many layers all the way to the edges, and even thicker there, as it will get darkest most quickly. From the oven, the crust is chewy and crisp and the most buried layers of potato become soft while the ones on top curl, brown and crisp like potato chips, and yes, that means you can tell everyone you’re eating potato chip pizza for dinner and watch the pangs of envy spread across their face.

bendy potato petals
the dough will barely make it across
drained, blotting
a slippery mess of potato

A study in minimalism, like most Roman cooking, it’s also something of a weeknight triumph — it requires all of three ingredients (potatoes, onion and rosemary) besides olive oil, salt, pepper, water, flour, yeast, which means it’s also vegan. It sounds like something that would be very heavy, but it’s quite the opposite; our favorite way to eat it is alongside a green salad or, if you’ve gotten your hand on asparagus, ramps and other spring delights and it’s not, say, 42 degrees where you are right now, we love it with spring vegetables.

potato pizza (pizza con potate)
potato pizza (pizza con potate)
potato pizza (pizza con potate)

A few other pizza favorites:

jim-laheys-pizza-bianca shaved-asparagus-pizza ramp-pizza lemony-zucchini-goat-cheese-pizza grilled-eggplant-and-olive-pizza breakfast-pizza

One year ago: Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad
Two years ago: Three Bean Chili
Three years ago: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini
Four years ago: Over-The-Top Mushroom Quiche
Five years ago: Apple Tarte Tatin, Anew
Six years ago: Hazelnut Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Baked Kale Chips
Seven years ago: Beef Empanadas
Eight years ago: Shaker Lemon Pie
Nine years ago: Arugula Ravioli and Mixed Berry Pavlova

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: S’More Cupcakes
1.5 Years Ago: The Crispy Egg
2.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
3.5 Years Ago: Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
4.5 Years Ago: Apple Pie Cookies

Potato Pizza, Even Better
Adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread


  • A tiny bit more context: Potato pizza is one kind the pizza al taglio that is considered daytime pizza in Rome, baked in electric ovens in large rectangular or oblong shapes, cut with scissors to the size you desire, and sold by weight. Wood-burning ovens historically weren’t allowed to run until 6 p.m. in Rome, and this was the delicious modification that emerged. Potato pizza is a variation on the gold standard of Roman bread, pizza bianca — pizza with just olive oil, rosemary and salt that amounts to so much more than it sounds.
  • Did you read that part about the electric oven? Unlike most of the pizza gushed over these days, this is not pizza optimized for 900-degree pizza ovens notably absent in most homes, but the ovens we already have. Not that it wouldn’t be amazing in a wood-fired pizza oven, but if you don’t have one in that cramped studio walk-up, you’re not going to start this recipe already at a loss.
  • Despite struggling with his first printed version, Lahey himself came to the rescue in 2012 with a much easier to follow potato pizza recipe in his first book that I’ve had great success with, so let us all applaud the silent co-authors of cookbooks that make great chef recipes work for the rest of us. The newer version lets us know exactly how big of a tray you’ll need, uses more potatoes, a simpler process of preparing them and I mean, just look at the results. (Well, not too closely. I was busy with a baby a nearly burnt mine.)
  • Want to make this with sweet potatoes? Lahey says that this version [Pizza Batata] should be made with slightly more water (4 1/2 cups) for the same amount of salt, and that 2 sweet potatoes (800 grams) is all you’ll need. Skip the rosemary.

1 recipe pizza dough (below) or about a 2/3 volume of my lazy fitted-to-your-schedule favorite or your favorite, whichever it may be

4 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
6 to 8 (1 kilo) small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

In a medium bowl, combine the 1 quart lukewarm water with salt, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Use a mandoline or your best sharpest knife to slice the potatoes very thin (1/16 inch thick), and put the sliced directly into the salted water, which prevents oxidation and also helps soften them so they cook up nicely. Lahey says to let them soak for 1 1/2 hours or up to 12 in the fridge overnight, but I was quite happy with my results after a 25 to 30 minute soak.

Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush either 1 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 9×13-inch quarter-sheet pans (shown) with olive oil. Divide your risen dough in half and use your fingertips, oiled or dusted with flour, to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect. If holes form, just pinch them together. It’s all going to work out, promise.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and use your hands to press out as much water as possible, then pat dry on paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss the potato slices with the onion, pepper, and olive oil. Spread this potato mixture over your dough, going all the way to the edges so that there’s no uncovered edge; put a bit more topping around the edges of the pie, as the outside tends to cook more quickly. Sprinkle evenly with rosemary. Usually the salt the potatoes were soaked in is enough, but you can sprinkle more on if desired.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is starting to turn golden brown and the crust is nicely bronzed underneath. Serve pizza hot or at room temperature.

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough
This is halved and modified slightly

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250 grams) all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) instant or active dry yeast
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2/3 cups (150 grams) room temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

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pimento cheese potato bites – smitten kitchen

Sorry, I blinked and missed 2016 in that way that happens when you’re so deeply in it, you forget to look up. I went from having one kid and a tiny bundle wrapped in a blanket to have two real-live mobile children and they are impossibly cute and exhausting and I wouldn’t want it any other way except for maybe once a week if we can find a babysitter. Like all parents ever, I think my seven year-old says amazing things, such as when he told us this weekend we needed to get our New Year’s Revolutions ready. My 17-month old is a tempest of curls and a blur of frenetic energy and whenever she exhibits, ahem, “low frustration tolerance” people decide this is the perfect time to tell me how much we are alike, not sure what that’s about… Both kids got serious birthday cakes and for once, my husband did alright too. I got to go on a surprise birthday trip to Mexico City without kids (!) and then we went to Portugal with two children, had a great time, and even remembered to bring the same two children home with us. If we can do that, we can do anything, right?

baked alaskachocolate peanut butter icebox cake

More relevant to this space, Smitten Kitchen turned 10 years old and I wrote some completely earnest stuff about 10 years of food blogging. I also gave a completely terrifying keynote address at a conference. This site was at last redesigned, the culmination of a multi-year and multi-design team effort to release this site from my circa 2006 attempts at CSS. This was a challenge and a life lesson in accepting that sometimes 95% done, at least for websites is good enough. (That said, we tweak things every week. I expect it to be perfect by 5 years from now, precisely in time for the next redesign.) I finished (well 95% again, but not the kind I’m at peace with because I’m the kind of author that gives publishers ulcers) a cookbook and then I let 13 people with cameras and mics and lights wreck havoc on my apartment one day (more soon on both of these). I hosted my first Thanksgiving and also we started having people over almost every other week because have you ever been at a restaurant with a toddler? Suddenly the idea of cooking even for 11 people on the regular is wildly more appealing. I enjoy the results this has had on my cooking, too, figuring out which meals scale easily, can be prepped in advance and accommodate various diets.

Although my updates here have been slower for parts of this summer and fall than almost any other year, I really love what we’re cooking here more than ever, a mix of the practical (sheet pan dinners, pumpkin bread, avocado toast, everyday meatballs, the platonic ideal of blueberry muffins, spaghetti pie and a taco torte) and the terrifying (Baked Alaska, towering Russian cakes and more). I am forever trying to find my footing in the kitchen, trying to find a balance between the ambitious stuff that fuels me but also, you know, dinner, dinner I’m actually excited to make and eat. These lists look like we’re almost getting there.

Best of 2016

2016 smitten kitchen favorites, savory

Most Popular Savory Recipes

  1. Chicken Chili
  2. Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka
  3. Nolita-Style Avocado Toast
  4. Root Vegetable Gratin
  5. Summer Squash Pizza
  6. Everyday Meatballs
  7. Brussels Sprouts Apple and Pomegranate Salad
  8. Chicken Gyro Salad
  9. Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup
  10. Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
  11. Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
  12. Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper

2016 smitten kitchen favorites, sweet

Most Popular Sweet Recipes

  1. Pumpkin Bread
  2. Homemade Irish Cream
  3. Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds
  4. Confetti Cookies
  5. Blood Orange Almond and Ricotta Cake
  6. Belgian Brownie Cakelets
  7. Strawberry Milk
  8. Russian Honey Cake
  9. Apple Strudel
  10. Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie
  11. The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited
  12. Failproof Crepes + A Crepe Party
2016’s Flops and Rejects

This is my favorite part of year-end round-ups: a sampling of the many things that never got out of dev, a veritable Festivus of aired cooking grievances. (Will you share your own?)

not how you make tergoulebuffalo wing caramel corn smothered cabbage flopbuttermilk pancakes


    • . I understand that you need a deeper pot. And also not to burn it.


buffalo wing caramel corn

    • from Bon Appetit and it was good but I like my

miso caramel popcorn


    • • I seem to be the only person on the food internet that has not found nirvana in

Marcella Hazan’s famous smothered cabbage

    • . My savoy cabbage burned; I had better luck with heartier white cabbage.


    • • I made all the best-rated buttermilk pancake recipes I could find and didn’t like any of them. I mean, we


    them but none were what I was looking for.

a fattoush-ish saladdown with filo eggplant parmesan tianthe only way to grill corn

• After having one of my favorite meals of the year at Damas in Montreal, I came home and attempted to make their fattoush salad as I remembered it. I have not a single complaint about it, I just didn’t jot down my measurements, like some sorta noob.
• 2016 was not the year I made peace with my mortal enemy, storebought filo.
• Every summer I make this thing I call an Eggplant Parm Tian and every summer I swear I’ll publish it but I lose interest before we finish it. I don’t know what it’s missing but perhaps I’ll figure it out in 2017.
• I wanted to rant about the only great way to grill corn but then decided there were enough bossy rants on the internet.

handmade trofie with pestomy favorite spinach quichea master lesson in apple tarte tatincharred chilis and more for chili

• I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and when I emerged, I decided that making trofie pasta, a wonderful shape that requires only a cutting board and knife, no pasta machines, was something easily pulled off. After a significant learning curve, indeed I did pull it off but it was not pro-level. I realized that the brilliance of pasta-rollers is that evenly thick pasta cooks, uh, evenly. These — half soft, half undercooked — did not.
• I went to update the photos for my old favorite spinach quiche and decided instead to make it party-sized. But I still like this photo.
• I begged Susan Spungen for an apple tarte tatin lesson and she obliged. “We” (ha, she) made this. I think in four more apple seasons, I will be seasoned enough to make one this stunning again without help.
• I charred the onions, garlic and chilis I used as a base for a no-bean chili and whoa, this little step changed everything. More on this soon, perhaps?

a chocolate olive oil cakea pasta bakesome pretzel stick grissini that floppeda gingerbread loaf that flopped

• This chocolate olive oil cake was not improved by my meddling.
• This is one of approximately 14 pasta bakes I made before settling on the one I wanted. But I still think it has potential.
• Let’s not even talk about my grissini/thin pretzel sticks flop. You know things are bad when salty carbs aren’t edible.
• Last week I worked on a one-bowl gingerbread loaf with pear and lemon and candied ginger and it was absolutely not up to snuff. But not because of the pear, lemon, or candied ginger so I’m going to get back to that next Christmas.

Something New

And at last, something that did not flop, not even a little. 10 years is too long for this website to have gone without pimento cheese, a Southern relish used in and on everything worth eating. Think of fromage fort or liptauer cheese as its European cousins. I said in my newsletter earlier this week that my goal this week was to pass off as many party snacks for dinner as I could, but I wasn’t joking. These potatoes (like twice-baked potatoes, except we’re going to boil them first so they’re less shriveled) are bite-sized and go quickly. I want to be at any party where you’re serving them.

what you'll needmaking pimento cheesereason # gazillion to buy a melon ballerhollowed and seasonedpacked and ready to bakepimento cheese potato bites

Pimento Cheese Potato Bites

This will make twice as much pimento cheese as you need. You can halve the cheese mixture so everything lines up, use double the potatoes (which you totally should for a crowd) or you can save the extra pimento cheese for everything that’s amazing with pimento cheese (grilled cheese and omelets are my top picks, my friends say we should put it on celery). You can easily pre-prep these, either by mixing the pimento cheese and boiling the potatoes one day (they’re easier to work with when cold, anyway) and chilling the potatoes for up to two days and the pimento cheese for up to a week, if needed, or by fully assembling them and baking them right before a party. They also reheat well. You can use the same approach for twice-baked full-sized potatoes, hooray.

Some potato-scooping tips: There’s a temptation to scoop them all out perfectly, but I find scooping out shallow round is sufficient once remixed to have a fully-flavored potato and it’s only when I attempt to cut further that I cut holes in the bottoms or rip the sides. Even if you do, however, the oiled foil will keep it from being too much of a mess.

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) baby potatoes (I used a mix of red and yellow)
  • 2 heaped cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, ideally a mix of yellow and white
  • 1/2 cup (2.75 ounces) finely chopped drained pimentos or roasted red peppers (from 1 4-ounce jar of pimentos)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 scallions, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • Cayenne or hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Smoked hot or sweet paprika, more cayenne, chipotle powder and/or minced chives to garnish

Put potatoes in a large pot, cover them with two inches of water, set them over high heat and set your time — as soon as you turn on the flame — for 25 minutes and bring to a boil. When the timer rings, the potatoes are either done or need up to 5 minutes more. If a skewer goes in them easily, they’re done. Drain and let cool until you can pick them up. Or, you can chill them for up to 2 days, until needed.

Meanwhile, make the pimento cheese by mixing the cheddar(s), pimentos, mayo, scallions, celery salt and cayenne or hot sauce together until evenly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Either use this right away or keep it chilled for a week, until needed.

Cover a large baking sheet with foil and lightly coat foil with nonstick spray. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness of skin and potato (essentially, you want to leave a shell inside for stability). A melon baller makes easy work of this. Arrange potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Season cavities with salt and pepper. Mash the potato centers in a bowl until smooth and mix with half (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) of prepared pimento cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Use a small spoon, butter knife or small offset spatula to press/pack filling back into emptied potatoes, smoothing the tops. Nestle them in the pan tightly to discourage them from toppling and spilling their contents.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until melty and sizzling, then run under broiler until lightly browned on top. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving, garnishing with paprika and/or chives when you do.

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sausage and potato roast with arugula – smitten kitchen

sausage and potato roast with arugula – smitten kitchen

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I realize that if you want to toss some sausages and vegetables on a sheet pan on a weekday night and roast them to crispy, self-seasoned blister, there are innumerable ways to do it. I’ve fiddled around with this broccoli and chunks of sausage; I’d intended to try a version with cherry tomatoes and garlicky croutons before my tomatoes went south. You may not need a recipe.

what you'll needlotsa shallotsready to roastan interruption arrives

But for me, so much of weeknight cooking is a random suggestion that pops into my feed that doesn’t have to be overtly revolutionary, just something I hadn’t considered before and immediately want to make before anything else. In a moment, I go from lethargically considering a bunch of options I’d rejected on previous evenings for various reasons to mentally calculating how long it will be until dinner and wishing it was now now now. Finding these moments is my primary cooking interest.

from the oven

This is also how this sausage and potato roast came about. It’s from Justin Chapple at Food & Wine, the same person who brought us this spaghetti pie, cacio e pepe style, i.e. he’s crazy clever. What called to me about this version were two things: the abundance of shallots that roast until they’re dark and sweet, and the abundance of arugula, meaning that this dish is protein, starch and salad at once, or the dinnertime equivalent of the praise-hands emoji. I also love that you finish it with lemon juice; a burst of acidity goes far to balance all of the flavors. It feels like a meat-and-potato main crossed with a fall salad. (I’ve already told my mother she should make it for dinner tonight, if you needed a bigger endorsement.)

does not want to wait for dinneradding the fresh arugulasausage and potato roast with arugulasausage and potato roast with arugula, mine

But also some Black Bean Soup: I updated one of my favorite vegetarian (vegan without the crema finish) soups in the archives last week with (drumroll) InstantPot directions (in addition to the existing stovetop and slow-cooker ones). It doesn’t matter how you make it, only that you do.

Sausage and Potato Roast with Arugula

I ended up tweaking a few of the amounts — I needed weights for potatoes because I’m exacting and found a 5-ounce clamshell of washed baby arugula to be more than enough for the dish. And I needed more cooking time. Yours, too, will probably vary a little depending on the thickness and of your sausages and potato cuts. I can get shallots easily but I do think if they’re a pain for you to get that red onion wedges (I’d cut up 2 to 3 large ones) would work too.

  • 1 3/4 pounds mixed unpeeled potatoes (red, yukon gold, fingerlings or russet), if small/baby, cut in half, if larger, in 1-inch thick wedges
  • 10 medium (about 1/2 pound) unpeeled shallots, halved
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • One 5-ounce package of baby arugula or one 8-ounce bundle, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar

Heat oven to 425°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss all of the potatoes and shallots with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt (I use 1 teaspoon kosher), and a lot freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste. Roast for 15 minutes, at which they’ll be barely beginning to color. Give them a toss and add sausages. Brush the tops with a little olive oil and return the tray to the oven for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the sausage is cooked through.

To finish: Transfer everything on the tray to a big bowl and add arugula, lemon juice, and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away.


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sweet potato tacos – smitten kitchen

I used small tortillas (6″) and this fills 12 of them for an unheavy meal for 4 people. Please double the recipe if you’re even a little nervous that this won’t be enough food for you or your crew.

Heat is the trickiest thing for me to get right for everyone in recipes; some chili powders (and I’m referring to chili powder, the blend, not chile powder, which is just ground chiles) ranges wildly in heat. If yours is spicy and you like things spicy, go up to 1 tablespoon. If yours is mild but you’d like it spicier, also use 1 tablespoon and add some chipotle powder, cayenne or a few shakes of hot sauce to taste. If yours is very hot but you don’t want the dish to be too spicy for people who don’t like heat, just 1 teaspoon may be fine.

  • 2 pounds (about 4 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 3/4″ cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder, to taste (see Note)
  • Chipotle powder, cayenne, or shakes of hot sauce, to taste (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 12 small (6-inch) or 6 medium (8 to 9-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce can refried black beans
  • 1 lime, in wedges
  • Sliced avocado, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce, Lazy Taco Slaw, or your choice(s) thereof, to finish
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss tweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, chipotle powder, and paprika and toss to evenly coat. If you’d like to roast the vegetables (for easier cleanup) on parchment paper, line a large baking sheet with it and spread the potatoes in a single layer. If you’d like to roast them directly on your baking sheet (I find they get more crisp this way), first coat it with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, then spread potatoes in an even layer.

Roast potatoes for 40 to 45 minutes, tossing once or twice for even color.

To assemble, if you have a gas stove, I love running flour tortillas over an open flame to give them a little char and complexity. Otherwise, you can wrap the stack of them in foil and let them warm in the oven while the potatoes roast for 5 minutes.

Schmear some refried black beans on each tortilla. Add a big spoonful or two of roasted sweet potatoes. Squeeze a little lime juice over the potatoes and black beans (don’t skip this, please), and finish with toppings of your choice, shown here with a shake of hot sauce, sliced avocado, pickled red onions, and cilantro. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

To get ours ready for the family meal, I get the tacos as far as the black beans, sweet potatoes, lime juice, and avocado, and let everyone take it from there. They stay warm for about 15 minutes nested, as shown, in a casserole dish.

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potato vareniki – smitten kitchen

For the simple potato filling: Place potatoes in medium saucepan and add milk and salt; milk should just barely cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and a few grinds of black pepper. Mash until very smooth, adjust seasonings to taste, and set aside to cool until needed. You can hurry this along in the fridge.

For the luxurious potato filling: Place potatoes in medium saucepan and add as much milk as you need to cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Strain off milk, saving 2 tablespoons, discarding the rest. Place cooked potatoes and reserved milk back in pot, add salt and butter, and use a potato masher to gently bring the ingredients together. Transfer potato mixture to a sieve and use a spoon or bowl scraper to push it through. Once potatoes are passed, let mixture cool to room temperature. Use a spatula to gently fold in egg until just combined. Add semolina and mix until uniform, trying not to overwork the mixture. Add dill, if using. Place in refrigerator until fully cooled before using.

Make the dumpling dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl with a fork. Add half the water and the egg and use the fork to mix them into the dough. Drizzle in all but last 1 tablespoon of remaining water, mixing as you pour until dough forms shaggy clumps. Use your hands to bring the dough together inside the bowl, using the last tablespoon of water if needed. Knead it several times in the bowl before transferring it to your counter. Knead dough for 10 to 12 minutes (set a timer; don’t skimp!) until it forms a smooth, elastic dough. Return to empty bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, which relaxes the dough and makes it easy to roll thin.

You can also make the dough in a stand mixer, using the dough hook to knead for 5 to 7 minutes.

Form vareniki, both methods: Grab a spray bottle of water (or a dish of water and a pastry brush, although just your finger is sufficient for hand-formed dumplings), a rolling pin, and liberally dust a rimmed baking sheet with flour. Remove one-quarter of dough (for hand-formed dumplings) or one-sixth of dough (for pelmenitsa dumplings) from bowl, keeping the rest wrapped until needed. On a very well-floured counter (Bonnie explains that the dough will only absorb as much flour as it needs and no more, so you cannot use too much) and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it’s thin enough that you can see light through it if you hold it up; you should be able to roll it to the thinness of pasta dough.

Form vareniki by hand: Cut out rounds of dough with a 2-inch round cutter or a drinking glass. Using two spoons, a small scoop, or a pastry bag, fill each round of dough with a blob of filling — about 1 teaspoon. Dab, brush, or mist the edges of the dough with water, then fold the round into a half-circle, pressing the edges to seal. Take the edges and pull them towards each other, pinching the corners to seal in a tortellini shape. As you shape a few dumplings, you’ll get a sense of how much filling you can stuff into each dumpling and still stretch the dough around it to seal. Transfer the shaped dumplings to your prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps together back into the ball. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, rerolling the scraps after they’ve rested enough that you can roll them out again. (If they resist rolling, wait 5 minutes, try again, repeating this until the scraps roll as thinly as the first round did.) I like to slide my tray of vareniki into the freezer while working on the next batch; they’re easier to move around once semi-frozen. At this point, you can cook them right away — semi-frozen or fresh — or freeze them for future use. (Freeze the rest of the way on the baking sheet so they don’t stick, then transfer to sealed bag).

Form vareniki with a pelmenitsa: Drape the rolled-out dough over your pelmenitsa, so that it reaches over the ends of the mold. Press or pat the dough lightly so that an imprint of the mold below is made on the dough; this is so you know where to center the filling. With two spoons, or a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip, scoop or pipe a little blob of filling into each of the 37 divots. You’ll need just a heaping teaspoon or so in order to still be able to seal things (don’t get carried away with the amount of filling!). When you have piped filling into all the slots, roll out a second piece of dough until it’s slightly larger than your mold. Lightly spray some water over the top of your filled vareniki, or lightly brush the exposed dough with water if you don’t have a spray bottle, and then gently place the second round of dough over the top. Firmly roll over the top with your trolling pin, several times as needed, to seal the vareniki and cut the dough between them. Remove the outer trimmings that are not part of the dumplings themselves. (Depending on how thin I’ve gotten the dough, I can reuse these to make a 4th pelemenista of dumplings, hence the range in yield. Let the dough rest until it rolls easily again.) Turn the pelmenitsa upside-down over the prepared baking sheet and nudge the filled dumplings out. Don’t worry if they don’t separate right away. Slide the tray into the freezer while you repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (Once they are firm, you can easily break them apart.) You can cook them right away — semi-frozen or fresh — or freeze them for future use. (Freeze the rest of the way on the baking sheet so they don’t stick, then transfer to sealed bag).

Cook your vareniki: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings, about 20 per person (or 12 to 15 if they’re larger). Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a healthy-but-not-too-vigorous boil. Add the dumplings and give it a few good stirs, making sure none stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the dumplings rise to the surface, and then 1 minute more (this will take 4 to 5 minutes). If you’re not sure if they’re done, you can always remove one and cut it in half — it should be hot in the center.

Finish and serve: While the dumplings cook, prepare a mixing bowl to dress your dumplings. Everyone likes their vareniki a little differently but I’ve been forever converted to Bonnie’s method. For each serving, you want to place a good pat (about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoons) of butter and 1 to 2 teaspoons of plain vinegar in the bottom of your bowl. Add salt and pepper, if you wish. When the vareniki are done, use a large slotted spoon (this is my favorite) to transfer the dumplings, shaking off the extra water, right into the bowl. Toss! The butter will melt and come together with the vinegar from the heat of the dumplings. Keep stirring, whirling everything together until the vareniki look glossy and lightly sauced and you are astounded by your newfound cheffy skills. Transfer to individual bowls and let everyone add the finishes they wish.

Do ahead: The simple potato filling is good in fridge for 4 to 5 days, the luxurious one for 2 days.

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sweet potato salad with pepita dressing – smitten kitchen

I looked for longer, thinner sweet potatoes here, so the slices weren’t too big. If you’d like more heat, paper-thin slices of a hot pepper such as a jalapeno or serrano would be a great addition here.

  • 2 pounds (about 4 medium) sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), raw or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon mild (Aleppo-style) or hot red pepper flakes, or less to taste
  • 2 limes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 big handful fresh cilantro
  • 4 thin scallions
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and then into 1/4-inch half-moon slices. Coat a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Scatter sweet potatoes over and toss them with another 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and many grinds of black pepper. Spread them evenly in pan; they won’t fit in one single layer at this point and that’s fine as they shrink as they roast. Roast for 20 minutes, until browned underneath, then flip potatoes and roast another 15 minutes, until all of the pieces are tender and have brown spots.

While potatoes roast, combine pepitas with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet and warm over medium heat. Let pepitas sizzle in oil for 1 to 2 minutes but keep a close eye on them; raw ones may be able to handle more time but already toasted ones will need less to get one shade darker. Remove from heat, season with salt to taste plus red pepper flakes. Set aside until potatoes are ready.

Drain and rinse your black beans. Halve avocado and remove the pit. Leave halves in their skin and cut avocado into thin slices, not cutting through the skin. Roughly chop cilantro, thinly slice scallions (white and green), and halve your limes, cutting one further into wedges. Squeeze one lime wedge over avocado to keep it from browning.

When potatoes are ready, immediately spoon pepitas and oil over potatoes, and squeeze the juice of your limes halves over. Scatter tray with black beans. Use a spoon to remove avocado slices in sections and fan them out over the tray. Sprinkle pan with cilantro and scallions, plus cotija if you’re using it (recipe will, of course, no longer be vegan). Season well with additional salt and pepper.

Scoop sections of potatoes and their toppings onto plates, serve with extra lime wedges, and eat right away. Leftovers keep nicely for a few days in the fridge; I didn’t rewarm them.

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potato and leek gratin – smitten kitchen

Note: You can watch an Instagram Story demo of this recipe over here.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, thinly sliced
  • 1 thick or 2 slimmer leeks, halved, washed, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (panko or homemade are great here)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated gruyère, comte, or baby swiss cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8×12-inch or 3-quart baking dish.

Arrange small stacks of sliced potatoes on an angle, slightly fanned, in different directions filling the pan loosely. Tuck leeks, halved side up, between potatoes around the pan. In a medium saucepan, bring cream, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, many grinds of black pepper, garlic, and thyme to a simmer, stirring to ensure the salt dissolves. Pour hot cream mixture evenly over the pan, trying to get every potato and leek coated. Cover pan tightly with foil, place on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 remaining tablespoons butter. Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper to taste and mix to evenly coat.

At 30 minutes, briefly remove pan from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle top evenly with cheese, then scatter with buttered breadcrumbs. Return to the oven without foil for 45 minutes, until potatoes are totally tender, the top is browned, and the edges are bubbly. [Insert a knife or skewer into potatoes to feel for crunch or resistance. Return to the oven if needed.]

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving hot.

Do ahead: Gratin can be assembled the day before and baked before a big meal. It can also be baked for 30 minutes (the foil-on portion) and cooled, finishing the baking time the next day. Gratin reheats well in a 350-degree oven. Leftovers keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

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