These potatoes are deliciously rich, super creamy, and comforting beyond belief. This is the perfect fall side dish to go with braised meats, chicken or even a salad.This recipe sort of just happened. Much like “the stars align” and something big can happen in your life — my ingredients, my day, and my thoughts aligned and this potato recipe happened. (See how similar the two sayings are? 😉 )
I was staring a 3-pound bag of Idaho Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes for a couple of days on my counter, and all I knew is that I wanted to smash them. Literally! Have you ever had smashed potatoes? Think creamy and buttery mashed potatoes on the inside, and crispy French fried potatoes on the outside. So good!
I’ve smashed a number of potatoes in my day. My Garlic Herb Smashed Potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite, and I’ve even used large Idaho Russets for Smashed Potato Pizza Crust. (Yep, just 1 ingredient, gluten-free pizza crust!)So I knew these had to be different and with two Spanish cheeses in the fridge, I decided they would have a Spanish vibe. I got out the smoked Spanish paprika and the rest was history. 😉See? Stars aligned.
- 3 pounds Idaho Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes, washed and dried
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups thinly sliced yellow/brown onions (about 2 large onions -- it's okay if this measurement isn't exact)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (Pimentón de La Vera)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups grated Manchego cheese
- 1½ cups grated Spanish firm aged goat cheese (It's okay if you can't find a Spanish one - firm and aged is what we're going for)
- Olive oil for the pan
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, adjust a rack to the center, and add the potatoes in an even layer to a baking sheet (one with a small edge so they don't roll off).
- Once it's preheated, place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the potatoes until they are fork tender -- when you pierce the largest one with a fork, it should slide off easily. This should take about 45 minutes, and they should be turned about half way through. (You can jiggle the baking sheet and they should easily move around.) The skins should be wrinkled and slightly golden brown when they're done. Remove them from the oven and set them aside.
- Reduce the heat of the oven to 375 degrees F, and keep the rack in the center.
- While the potatoes are roasting, add the butter to a heavy-bottomed, very large (12 to 14-inch) sauté pan. Place it over low heat and let the butter melt.
- Using a metal spoon, remove the milk solids from the surface -- they will appear as a creamy colored foam. This is essentially a quick way to clarify the butter. (The milk solids are the part of the butter that has a low burning point, so removing them helps prevent burning the contents of the pot.)
- Turn the heat to medium-high and add all of the onions. During the first 15 minutes, stir them every few minutes. Once the onions are soft, sprinkle with a bit of salt, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir periodically. Every so often the bottom and sides of the pan will begin to brown. This is what you want! Use a wooden deglazing spatula to work that back into the onions. For this recipe, I like to caramelize the onions until they're all golden and soft, but still have a bite to them. They should look something like this:
- Add the onions to a large mixing bowl and stir in the cream, paprika, salt, and a few turns of black pepper. (Do not wash the pan from the onions!) Let this cool to room temperature and then mix in both cheeses. Set aside.
- Drizzle the bottom of the same pan where you caramelized the onions lightly with olive oil. Add the potatoes -- just the amount that will fit in an even layer. You will likely need to do this in two batches.
- Use a smooth meat mallet or the bottom of a your smallest sauté pan to gently press down on the potatoes. They will crack and become flat on both sides. (Don't press to hard, as you don't want them too thin, and you want them to stay as intact as possible.)
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and then turn the heat to medium-high and sauté the potatoes until the bottoms are nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Then very gently, with a flat-bottomed spatula, turn them over and cook until the other side is nicely browned, about 5 minutes. (The second side will brown more quickly because the pan will be hotter at that point.)
- Add an even layer of the smashed potatoes to the bottom of an approximately 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking. Now evenly distribute half of the onion mixture over the top, being sure to get it into all of the nooks from the potatoes. Add a second and final layer of the potatoes on top -- if there are any gaps, slice some of the larger smashed potatoes in half, horizontally, and use both sides, round side up. Now add the remaining onion mixture over the top, again filling in any nooks between the potatoes. All of the potatoes should be well covered.
- Place the pan, uncovered, in the preheated 375 degree F oven and bake until it's golden brown and very hot, about 25 minutes. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.