Good old meat and potatoes – It’s a classic winter dinner plate, and done well there is nothing finer, but prepared without care (think overcooked pork chops with watery boiled potatoes) there are few things that taste as dreary!
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to transform the everyday into something a little bit special. On that note, here are a number of ideas to perk up your simple boiled potatoes – easy variations that make all the difference and which will surprise and delight those accustomed to everyday potatoes.
Easy Boiled Potato Variations
Remember to salt your potato boiling water well (the water should taste pleasantly salty) – this a necessary step on the path to tasty taters!
- Parsley Butter – Toss already cooked boiled potatoes in butter and fresh chopped parsley and salt to taste
- Dill New Potatoes – boil up some new potatoes and then toss with fresh chopped dill and butter, and salt to taste
- New Potatoes with Pesto – toss boiled potatoes with a couple of spoonfuls of pesto and a little salt to taste
- Bacon Potatoes – Toss already boiled potatoes with fried bacon chopped into small chunks (mix in a tablespoon or so of the bacon fat as well, if you’ve got it). Salt to taste
- Olive Oil Potatoes – dress boiled potatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, garlic and fresh herbs of your choice ( a spare amount of rosemary, or some thyme, for example)…nice with a roast pork, for example
- Stock Potatoes – potatoes boiled in a light chicken or vegetable stock instead of water
- Sour Cream and Chive Potatoes – toss boiled potatoes with butter and salt to taste and then serve with a little sour cream (or crème freche) and minced chives on top
- Cream Potatoes – cut boiled potatoes into thick slices and the toss with a little cream that you’ve brought to a simmer. Salt to taste and reduce the mixture until appropriately thickened (you can also add a little minced garlic to the simmering cream, for another nice variation)
- Vinaigrette Potatoes – make an impromptu German style potato salad by tossing warm boiled potatoes with any vinaigrette salad dressing that you have on hand
- Roasted Potatoes – take your boiled potatoes and toss with olive oil, salt and herbs of your choice and then dump them all onto a baking sheet. Roast in a very hot oven until nicely browning – 10 to 20 minutes
Conventional Potato Cooking Guide
|Boil||20-25 minutes, whole medium size
15-20 minutes, quartered
12 minutes, diced
|Scrub or peel potatoes, place in cold water and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer. Gourmet potatoes may be placed in boiling water then simmered.|
|Halve or quarter, coat lightly with oil and arrange into a baking dish.|
|Bake||40-60 minutes||Rub skin with a little oil.|
|Deep Fry||5-8 minutes approx 170°C
3-5 minutes 190°C
|Wash chipped potatoes in cold water to remove starch and dry off before frying. Fry in chip basket until pale but tender. Drain. Fry chips again, to crisp and brown. Drain well.|
|Mash||15 minutes||Wash, peel, dice, boil until tender. Drain well and mash with butter, milk, salt and pepper.|
|Steam||10-15 minutes||Arrange small potatoes on perforated steamer over rapidly boiling water.|
Microwave Potato Cooking Guide
|4 minutes per potato, depending on size plus 2 minutes standing time||Prick potato skin, place in Potato Microwaver and microwave on high for 4 minutes, turning the capsule over after 2 minutes.|
|4 minutes per diced potato||Dice, place in Potato Microwaver and microwave on high for 4 minutes per potato.|
Cooking Time for Microwaving Jacket Potatoes
- 1 medium potato: approx 3-5 minutes
- 2 medium potatoes: approx 4-8 minutes
- 3 medium potatoes: approx 8-10 minutes
- 4 medium potatoes: approx 10-14 minutes
Nutrition – Boiled Potato, peeled, no salt added
Misinformation and misconceptions regarding the nutritional value of the potato abound. In fact, an average (~5.3 oz) potato with the skin contains:
• 45% of the daily value for vitamin C
• 620 mg potassium, comparable to bananas, spinach and broccoli
• trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc
• all for only 110 calories and no fat.
And potatoes with the skin on are an excellent source of fibre. In fact, with 2 grams of fibre per serving, a potato equals or exceeds that of many “whole” grain products-whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and many cereals.
Despite the popular notion, the majority of nutrients are not found in the skin, but in the potato itself. Nonetheless, leaving the skin on the potatoes retains all the nutrients, the fibre in the skin and makes potatoes easier to prepare.