Home fries

March 13, 2010 at 5:49 pm (breakfast, Derek's faves, Starches, unrated, Website / blog)

I love diner-style home fries in the abstract, but I rarely like the implementation.  Often the potatoes are under-seasoned, or over-salty.  They’re either too dry or extremely greasy.  My mom makes good fried potatoes, but I’ve never been too happy with my own attempts.  I wanted to have some potatoes for my Austin-style breakfast taco brunch, which is taking place here tomorrow morning.  I found a recipe for homefries on the Smitten Kitchen blog, which suggested cooking the potatoes first before frying them up.  The recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes, which are medium-starch.  I tried making home fries a few weeks ago using medium starch potatoes (the red label in Germany).  I thought the home fries turned out way too rubbery, and so this time I bought mehlig potatoes (Russett-style, the blue label) instead.  I modified the Smitten Kitchen recipe a bit, but mostly followed her recommended technique.


  • 1 onion finely chopped, about 1.5 cups
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds starchy potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, color(s) of your choice
  • 1 tsp. paprika (smoked would be good)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried theme
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Chop your onion and let them sit.  Wash and dice the potatoes.  Put them into a microwave-safe bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until the edges of the potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook until softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes.  While the onions cook, chop the bell pepper.  When the onions are done transfer them to a serving bowl.
  3. Melt 1 Tbs. butter and remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil in the now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add the partially-cooked potatoes and pack down with your spatula. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, and fresh black pepper.  Cook, without moving, until undersides of potatoes are brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bell peppers.  Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes. Stir in cooked onions and serve.

According to Smitten Kitchen, it’s difficult to cook the onions with the potatoes, because the onions usually burn before the potatoes are cooked through (even if you partially cook the potatoes first).  So she just does the onions separately.

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