Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Potatoes, Iron City Style

Mixed potatoes
Since time immemorial (actually, since about 1882), Jake's family has been going to a remote fishing camp in northern Ontario called the Iron City Fishing Club for their summer vacations.  When people at Iron City aren't fishing, picnicking is popular, complete with potatoes cooked in a cast-iron skillet over an open fire on a rocky island (and accompanied by a water-chilled beer).  This is our at-home version of those picnic fried potatoes.  Covering the pan helps the potatoes cook faster, as the lid prevents the evaporation of moisture.  Thus, the potatoes are being steamed and fried at the same time.

adapted from island picnics on the Georgian Bay, Ontario

serves 3-4 as a side dish

2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion or shallot (optional), sliced very thin
1 lb potatoes, unpeeled and sliced very thin
1 bottle of your favorite beer (you'll use about 3-4 Tablespoons for the potatoes; the rest is for drinking)
salt and pepper

Heat butter in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides.  Add onion or shallot, if using, and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes).  
Farm baby helps
with the digging

Add thinly sliced potatoes and stir to coat with melted butter.  Cover pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, until potatoes are well browned.  When they start to stick to the pan, pour in a good glug of beer (3-4 Tablespoons).  Lower heat and continue to cook, covered, until potatoes are tender.  If there is still liquid in the bottom of the skillet, cook uncovered for a few minutes until it evaporates.  Serve hot with plenty of salt and pepper.

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