POTATOWNED ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

05 May 2008


Oh my god, totally simple delicious food!

These are really easy. They are also nice and heavy and Slavic for the satisfaction of genetic appetite impulse. There's nothing like a big plate of potato, mustard and pickle to make you think you're in a northern climate for one last gasp before it's ultimate summer.

This is kind of a takeoff on a technique I use on chicken occasionally. It's basically a medium-slow braise to infuse your potatoes with all the happy liquids.

Very vermouthy potatoes

several boiling potatoes
half a big yellow onion
water or broth
olive oil
dry vermouth
salt, pepper, paprika, marjoram, oregano
an appropriate casserole dish

First, preheat the oven to 350F.

Slice potatoes into thin slices. It's safest to cut them in half, then put them cut side down and chop half-moons. Flat surface! I had four potatoes. Peel and slice half an onion thinly as well. If you want to avoid long, stringy onion business, cut the half-moons across a couple times.

Now it's time for assembly. Put a single layer of potatoes in your casserole. Sprinkle on some paprika, a pinch of salt, some pepper, and a little marjoram or oregano. Add a layer of onions and spice again. Add a layer of potatoes and spice again.

I just stopped there and used up all my everything in three layers, but you can clearly make a thicker, multi-layered potato business if you want to, for instance, use a loaf pan, or use a whole bunch more potato and onion.

When you've come to your last potato layer, it's time for liquid. Pour a cup or so of water or broth over the pan. Add a big slug of vermouth. Add a good splash of olive oil. Now take a good look at the pan. You want liquid to come about 2/3 of the way up to the surface of the potatoes, or a little higher. If you don't have enough liquids, add some more of whichever sounds tastiest. I wouldn't put in much more oil, but everything else is fair game. As you can tell by the title, I added quite a lot of vermouth, maybe 1/2 or 2/3 cup total. I like vermouth, though. You can clearly just do an all-broth version, or even an all-water if you don't have much of a mouth for spice.

Now put your dish in the oven. Notice that it only took you Maybe ten minutes to make that entire thing.

Let bake for a half hour or so, then check and rotate, tilting the pan to get liquid everywhere. When the potatoes are browned and lovely on top, take them out of the oven.

I ate mine with a bunch of pickles and a whack of mustard. Other things that would've been good: cold salami, sauerkraut if you like that sort of thing, a chunk of sharp cheese. Or you could make salatka (Polish for salad!): mix a couple spoonfuls cottage cheese with a little sour cream; add a bunch of chopped radishes and some salt and pepper; put on hot rye toast and eat. Or you could just have radishes without any sort of dairy, or a cold (potentially pickled) beet salad. It will be awesome.

In the morning, you will probably have leftovers. You could definitely just eat them plain for breakfast. However! You could also use them, as I did, to make egg mess.

Egg mess

Put leftover potatoes in an appropriate pan for scrambling an egg. Warm them up. When things are starting to steam, crack an egg over the business. Stir madly to get the egg beaten and distributed everywhere. (Alternately, you can beat the egg before adding, but whatever, we're lazy here.) Cook until egg is done. Eat either alone or with toast for delicious superstarch egg mess sandwich.

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