My dad turned 55 last week, but as his birthday fell on a weeknight in the middle of tax season (yes, ALL my family members are accountants – I’m the rebel) we decided to celebrate tonight with a home-cooked dinner. It was a fabulous meal, exactly what my dad had envisioned, with just one exception: the potatoes.
Originally he’d requested mashed potatoes, but I suggested “smashed potatoes” instead for health reasons. He agreed, and I made what I considered to be smashed potatoes.
Oops. Communication breakdown! My family was expecting some sort of boiled and coarsely mashed (hence the “smashed) version of mashed potatoes. Mine were different, and not just because they were completely void of cream or butter, two ingredients I deem essential to mashed potatoes, in addition to the potatoes and salt of course.
These potatoes were literally cracked with a meat mallet. Yes, you read that right. It’s a great way to get out daily frustrations, you just smash it a little with the flat side of the mallet until the potato begins to crack. Then move on to the next one until you’ve gone through the whole bag which is roughly enough to fit in a large pan.
That’s the most smashing that goes into the dish. Once smashed, or cracked, the potatoes are seared in olive oil with whole garlic cloves, then braised in chicken broth and seasoned with rosemary, salt and pepper.
Super simple to make and absolutely delicious. Not to mention fun. The natural richness of the yukon golds becomes soft and buttery when steamed, and the skin gets a nice crispness from first being seared in the olive oil.
Despite the initial surprise of not eating smashed potatoes for dinner, my family loved the newly termed “cracked” potatoes and enthusiastically gobbled them up.
Cracked Yukon Gold Potatoes – makes 6 side dishes
3 pounds small yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
Carefully whack a potato with the flat side of a meat mallet until it begins to crack. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add two-thirds of the potatoes and cook on each side until lighlty browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the potatoes from the pan, leaving the oil behind. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. At the same time, add the garlic and saute until lightly browned then remove from the pan while the potatoes finish.
Return all the potatoes to the pan and pour in enough chicken broth to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the potatoes. Stir in the browned garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve 3 potatoes per person. These go great with roast chicken and broccoli.