Sunday, October 21, 2012

Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

I grew up in Missouri, and, in case you don't know where that is, it's smack dab in the middle of meat and potatoes country.  Which means.........that I love meat and potatoes.  How could I not?  It would be an act of treason if I didn't.  However, we really didn't vary the potatoes much.  There was boiled with butter, salt & pepper, mashed, fried or baked.  That was about it.  I still like all of those ways, but I am constantly trying to reinvent how I serve potatoes.  I just get incredibly bored with the same old same old, to the point where I rarely fix them exactly the same more than once.  Even if I really like a certain way, I find myself tweaking it a little each time.

When I say "smashed" potatoes, initially, my mind goes back to my Grandma Souders, who I adored, by the way.  She was an awesome cook (and person), and their aren't too many people who could top her homemade breads, rolls or pies.  But, anyway, she used to say we were having "smashed" potatoes, as in, "fried chicken and smashed potatoes."  That was just her way of saying mashed potatoes because they were creamy and fluffy, all at once - no lumps.  Nowadays, though, when you hear "smashed potatoes" it usually means roughly mashed potatoes, intentionally lumpy, with or without the skins on.  That's the kind of potatoes I am talking about for this recipe.  Although, to this day, forever and always, I think of my grandma when I hear the phrase "smashed potatoes."

Even though the potatoes are not how she fixed them, I have no doubt that my grandma would have loved them, all the same.  She is, after all, one of the women who taught me what it was to be a good cook, just by watching her day after day.  I would give anything to have a few more of those wonderful times in her kitchen.  I'm not trying to be overly melancholy, so I'll close with this, treasure all of those moments with the special people in your life because one day you'll wish that you had even more.

And, now for the recipe.  Here's your Cast of Characters.

8 - 10 Medium potatoes, skins on & scrubbed clean
1/2 Stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 Teaspoons pepper and Lawry's season salt
2 Teaspoons minced garlic
1 Teaspoon, each, rosemary and McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic and Herb blend (or garlic powder)

Cut the potatoes into chunks.

Cover with water, add a little salt and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking for 20 - 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork.

Meanwhile, mix your seasonings together.  Before adding rosemary, put it in the palm of your hand, and use the thumb of the opposite hand to crush the sprigs.

Once potatoes are done, drain and leave in the colander for a minute or so.  In the same pan, melt butter on medium heat.  When it's hot, add garlic and seasoning.  Saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.

Remove from heat, and add potatoes.  Gently stir until potatoes are completely coated with the butter mixture.

With a potato masher or fork, smash the potatoes roughly, leaving some lumps and small chunks.

Stir, and return to the stove, and heat through on medium-low for about 5 minutes.  Serve.