Monday, January 12, 2015

A Work In Progress


We writers always have a work in progress. Sometimes more than one! I'm finding that applies to recipes, too.

Recently I saw two different chefs offering recipes for oven-roasted root vegetables. I made a mental note to try something of my own with root veggies but then the notion of oven roasting spurred an idea. One of my favorite ways to cook potatoes (okay, mashed wins, hands down, every time) is by cutting them into small cubes (skin on) and popping them in the oven to roast. Why has this become a favorite? I can alter the seasonings to suit the main dish, almost everyone likes them, and after cutting them into cubes, they require very little attention, leaving me free to deal with other dishes.

The idea that began to percolate in my mind was to add bacon to the potatoes. Simple enough. But would the bacon crisp up or be soggy? So I gave it a shot.

The result was delicious. The potatoes were soft, the bacon was crispy, and the whole thing wasn't too guilt-inducing. After all, it's really only 4 ounces of bacon and the recipe serves about four people. Bacon is used to enhance the flavor, not as the main attraction.

But adding bacon resulting in one little downside – too much grease! As it cooked, it released fat. Hmm, I probably should have anticipated that. I solved the problem, at least temporarily, by pouring the potatoes onto a piece of paper towel, much as I do bacon after frying it in a pan.

Now, having complained about the extra grease, let me mention that leftovers fry up with a lovely crisp edge on the potatoes. Yum! It might be worth making these a day ahead of time and them popping them into a large skillet to cook slowly the next day if you're after that crispiness.

Other possibilities come to mind. The potatoes could be roasted at 425. In my experience, that's getting fairly hot, and I wonder if the bacon wouldn't burn. I might try it that way. Cutting down on the olive oil is another possibility. But the potatoes need a little bit or they'll stick to the pan and the seasonings won't stick to the potatoes. Suggestions?

Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Bacon

three large russet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
4 ounces bacon

1 large rimmed baking sheet or pan

Preheat oven to 400. Scrub the potatoes, dry them, and cut into small cubes. Place in pan. Drizzle with olive oil and turn potatoes to coat. Sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Turn potatoes again to coat.

Slice bacon in thin (1/4 inch) slices. Sprinkle over potatoes and turn again to mix. Shake the pan to spread the poatoes. They should be in one layer.

Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the potatoes, shake the pan, and make sure they're in one layer again. Roast another 15 minutes. Reduce grease by turning out onto a paper towel before serving, or eat as is!


These are smaller than 1-inch.

Only 4 ounces of bacon, sliced very thin crosswise.

Mix potatoes, seasonings, and bacon.



28 comments:

  1. What if you baked the potatoes & bacon at the same time, but separately? I love baking potatoes like you do. I have never thought to add bacon. You've got me thinking....
    Best Wishes in 2015!

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    1. Helena, that would definitely work. Great idea. But more pans to wash!

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  2. It's hard to go wrong with potatoes and bacon. When I've tried oven-cooking sliced/diced potatoes, sometimes I pre-cook them briefly in the microwave, but I'll bet with the russets you don't need that. Maybe you should track down less fatty bacon? I'm surprised how widely brands vary in both fat and saltiness. Any way you slice it (ha), this looks yummy.

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    1. Pre-cooking isn't necessary at all. That's one reason I like roasting them this way. You might be right about the bacon. Must look for more meat and less fat.

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  3. You had me at bacon, Krista. I think your double-cooking idea is great, but I know that my husband would want to save the "drippings" and use them for the second fry. Not healthy, but probably delicious. Thanks, Krista.

    ~ Cleo

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    1. LOL! Give Marc a hug for me. There's definitely something to be said for the flavor that the bacon drippings impart. Yum!

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  4. Mmmm, I think I will have to try this, just this way, first, before I try to change it!

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    1. Elaine, I'll be interested in your take on it. You can adjust or switch out the seasonings to suit your family's preferences.

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  5. What if you blanch the bacon first? That would remove some of the fattiness, but not all of it.
    Sounds pretty darn irresistible to me!

    Helen--cooking them separately would solve the fat "problem", but remove the effect of the bacon cooking with the potatoes.

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    1. Another great idea. I've never blanched bacon! Must try to see what happens.

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    2. My brain is a little slow this morning.
      You could also use turkey bacon--the taste with a lot less fat.

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  6. I think I'd try cooking the bacon halfway in the microwave first. That should render out some of the fat but I think it's still crisp up in the oven.

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    1. Great idea, Sandy. I was hoping to keep it super simple (one step one pan!), but that would probably do the trick.

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  7. Nancy R: I love the bacon idea, and draining off grease on paper towel works for me. Instead of cutting regular potatoes, I use the mini-potatoes (President's Choice Little Gems in Canada) - even less prep! Our favourite spices are "Simon and Garfunkle" - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I also add some chopped or pearl onions and onion soup mix for extra flavour.

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    1. I have done it with small red potatoes cut in half. Are those the little gems? I'm laughing about the Simon and Garfunkle - very cute! I'll have to try it!

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  8. I am looking forward to trying it, Krista. Such a perfect combo for our wintry nights. Thanks. I love works in progress.

    XO

    MJ

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    1. I bet the Maffinis will put their own twist on it! : )

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  9. Two of my favorite things--bacon and potatoes. I'm with you on the mashed, but these look extra good--I'll have to give them a try.

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    1. Bacon and potatoes go together very well. I hope you'll like them!

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