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Fat Guy

Making home fries

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Very basic....par boiled, skin-on, cooked in beef fat. The frozen stash of rendered beef fat cubes come out to play when it's time for home fries.

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I've been using this recipe for a couple years (diced, mixed with onion, garlic, paprika, oven roasted). The result is very nice, and it's easy to make lots unattended. I usually use diced onion instead of the onion powder though.

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To me, home fries are sliced potatoes about the size of a quarter, sauteed in butter till brown, no precooking.

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I've been preparing home fries or "cottage" fries for sixty years and have tried various techniques over the decades but always return to the method learned in my grandma's kitchen.

There were always potatoes for breakfast and they were started the evening before - scrubbed potatoes went into the hot oven after the dinner was being taken to the table to bake in the residual heat and removed when the cleanup was finished and placed in the cool pantry (or the fridge in summer).

In the morning the skins were removed - usually just slipped off - and the potatoes were sliced about 1/4 inch thick, or less.

They went into a very hot iron skillet in which the fat (bacon drippings or lard) was about 1/4 inch deep and left undisturbed until the edges on the bottom layer were light brown and then they were turned with a big spatula and the top layer was exposed to the fat and heat.

Nowadays I microwave russets or Yukon Gold potatoes for about 2/3 of the time I would use to "bake" them completely - time will vary with the power of the microwave - and I don't remove the skin because I like it and it has some vitamins.

Otherwise the process is much the same. I often use a combination of butter and oil (grapeseed is a favorite) as this combines the flavor of the butter with the higher smoke point of the oil.

Sometimes I cut the potatoes into wedges (usually when cooking them for dinner) but most often into slices but sometimes into cubes.

I don't season the potatoes until after they have browned a bit - this is a personal quirk but I do taste as I go.

To me onions and peppers don't belong in home or cottage fries - adding those makes it Potatoes O'Brien and I like my potatoes "pure" but fried onions on the side are okay, depending on the other breakfast items. With steak and eggs or pork chops, okay, with bacon or ham, not so much.

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