These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.
I give Rachel Ray the credit for bringing this recipe to my attention during one of her holiday specials. But the true credit for the recipe goes to famous French chef Jacques Pépin, who originally made this potato side a favorite on many family tables years ago. Rumor has it, this particular recipe was made by his French grandmother on a daily basis, served with dinner and loved by all.
There are only a few simple ingredients needed for what ends up becoming soft, rich and creamy potato goodness. And while the process for making them isn’t difficult, it does take about 35-40 minutes from start to finish. Good news is, none of the steps requires much maintenance—complete one, and then go on about your business until it’s time for the next step (I used my kitchen timer to help remind me when it was time to come back).
One word of caution, the last five or so minutes of the process is what makes these potatoes so delicious. The last five minutes also leave a really hard crust on the bottom of your pan … like a real soak-the-pan kind of a crust. So, if you have a deep nonstick pan you may want to use it; however, you’ll probably give up some of the dark brown seary crispiness. I have a nice heavy bottom stainless deep skillet, and it washes up nicely after an overnight soak, so that’s what I used. An enameled cast iron braiser would be a good option, too!
- 6-8 small to medium red potatoes
- 3.5 cups chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Place the potatoes in a deep skillet, add the chicken broth and butter, and sprinkle the pepper on top. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover for 15 minutes (or until the potatoes are fork-tender).
- Remove the lid, and increase heat to medium-high. Keep the chicken broth at a hard simmer until almost all the broth has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat back down to medium.
- With a flat-bottomed glass, gently push down on each of the potatoes until they just crack – you don’t want to smash them. Let cook for 3-5 minutes on each side so that the skin gets brown and crispy. Remove from heat, sprinkle the tops with sea salt, and serve hot – think mashed potatoes with a light crispy coating. Yum!
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