12 July 2011

ah, praties

Jamie O'Rourke was the laziest man in all of Ireland.
"Jamie O'Rourke," his wife, Eileen, would say. "We'll have nothing to eat this winter if you don't go out and dig up the praties."

"Oh, the saints preserve us," Jamie would whine. "Me back's as sore as can be. Sure I'm tellin' you, wife, you'll have to dig them up yourself . . ."

-from Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola


This isn't an impressive recipe, hence the lack of an impressive name. It's just a really good combination of food and we love it. :)

A few components of this meal had a springboard here and here. But mostly, it goes by instinct. If you'd rather use chorizo, add black olives, saute some mushrooms, top it off with salsa-- be my guest. This is filling and flexible. (One reason I like it: I've been skipping grains for the past three and a half weeks, and this is very easy to make grain free. All I need to do is use arrowroot starch in the sauce.)

I make this amount for the two of us, as I eat half a potato and Jared eats the rest. Scale up or down according to the number of people around your table.


Baked Potatoes . . . and Stuff

2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cheese Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour or arrowroot starch
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
cayenne pepper to taste

The Rest of It: 
1/2 lb turkey sausage
3 cups chopped broccoli florets
extra butter, sour cream, salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350. Scrub potatoes and dry thoroughly. Poke several holes in them with a fork, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Set directly on oven rack (put cookie sheet below to catch drips) and roast for 1 hour.
2) 15 or 20 minutes before dinnertime, make cheese sauce. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle in arrowroot or flour. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds or so. Pour in 1/2 cup milk and keep whisking until smooth. Bring to boil to thicken; add cheese and cayenne, whisk to combine. If sauce is too thick you can add the remaining milk little by little. Turn off the heat and cover. This will sit happily on the stove until dinnertime, and you can always reheat it quickly before serving.
3) Cook sausage however you prefer. I buy it in long links; I put the links in a hot skillet, add 1/2 inch of water, cover, and let them cook on medium-high for a while. Then I slice them into "coins" and give them another toss in the hot skillet (this time with a bit of olive oil rather than water) to finish them off.
4) Steam broccoli gently, just until tender. I don't have a steamer, but I put some water in the bottom of a nice heavy pot, add the broccoli, and bring it to a boil. Cover and let steam for a few minutes.
5) Get the potatoes, cheese sauce, sausage, and broccoli into bowls. Set the table with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. To serve, just split your potato and mash it a bit with your fork, then load on whatever you'd like. Enjoy. :)

P.S. Random delight of the day: the first local yellow peaches of the season. Juicy, sweet, perfect.

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