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Friday, September 28, 2007

Potatoes Lyonnaise


We had a few varieties of potatoes in our garden this year. We picked as many as we needed over the last two months. Now that it is getting quite chilly, we dug up all the remaining potatoes. If left in a cool dark place, these should stay fine and usable for a long time. But, I have a feeling we will probably use it up before Halloween.

Rather than the usual hash browns or potatoes au gratin or roasted potatoes, I decided to make Potatoes Lyonnaise a few days ago - a simple, earthy, wholesome French style potatoes smothered in onion and topped with some herbs.

As I understand it, this dish came about as an easy way of using up cooked potatoes, but later was adapted to become a classic French bistro cuisine. In its simple form, it is sliced potatoes browned in a skillet, intermingled with sweet caramelized onions, with perhaps a touch of parsley and salt. Just a four ingredient dish.


I started out with all sincerity, as this was a simple dish, and decided to serve some home made corn bread muffin for the mid-week dinner. I took the easy way out with corn bread muffin: I used Marie Callender's™ just-add-water, ready-to-bake corn bread mix. It was a weeknight dinner and I wanted something quick :)

The potatoes were par cooking in the microwave, the onions were caramelizing on the stove over medium heat, the cornbread muffin was part-way done in the oven with about another 15 minutes to go, when my little toddler announced that she had to go to the potty.

Now, she is just getting potty trained and I didn't want to ignore it... so, I walked her to the bathroom, turned on the bathroom light, made sure she got her pants and underpants down and out of the way, helped her sit on her little potty, and left her with a few books... forgetting the beautifully caramelizing onions on the stove! So, by the time I got back to them they had turned a little dark at the edges... Oh Well.

Anyway, here is my version of the basic Potatoes Lyonnaise. The classic recipe calls for quite a bit of butter, but, used a combination of olive oil and a touch of butter as I didn't want to slather butter on to potatoes and have it for dinner...

4 medium potatoes, medium-starch variety or even baking potatoes works fine
1 large sweet onion
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Olive oil
salt to taste
water as needed
fresh herbs I used*: rosemary, chives
*grassy green parsley is classic, but, I didn't have any handy; however we have a fairly big rosemary bush and the chives are still doing fine, so, I decided to improvise. Besides, there is something about the combination of rosemary and potatoes that makes it irresistible for me :)

  1. Onions: Slice the onions thinly, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a pan, add the onions, a pinch of salt, stir to coat and cook for a few minutes, turn heat down to medium, cover, and allow the onions to caramelize, deglazing with water part way as needed
  2. Potatoes: While onions are getting ready, skin, clean and slice the potatoes (I used a mandolin slicer), toss them with a hint of oil (or butter), and par cook them for about 3-5 minutes (exact time depends on microwave power settings) till potato slices are mostly opaque and bend little but don't break or remain stiff when bent
  3. Remove the caramelized onions from the pan, keep handy; add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp Olive oil to the same pan, when the butter bubbles and subsides, add the par-cooked potatoes, some salt, shake the pan gently to coat with oil and form a single layer, and leave it alone for a few minutes till bottom browns a little, without stirring, on medium-high heat; using a spatula, gently turn the slices over to brown the other side
  4. when potatoes are nicely browned on both sides, return the caramelized onions to the pan and heat through; add chopped herbs and pepper if using, taste and adjust salt

It took less than 30 minutes to cook these Potatoes Lyonnaise and the muffins, and that's about the ideal duration in which I prefer to have a weeknight meal ready :)


p.s: adding this to GBP: Summer 2007 event listing as I used garden potatoes.

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  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous gini said…

    Great looking potatoes. That is quite the harvest.h

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Laavanya said…

    Great combination.. herbs, potatoes and caramelized onions. Love the entire meal in fact.. corn muffins inclusive.


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