Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises (Potatoes Lyonnaise)

Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises or Potatoes Lyonnaise, hail from the city of Lyon, France in the Rhône-Alpes region. This provençal dish is made up of lightly browned potato slices that are pan-fried in butter until slightly crispy. They're very similar to a dish you'll find in America called home fries, but leave it to the French to take a simple potato dish and elevated it to a whole new level by adding lightly caramelized onions and finishing it off with a sprinkle of parsley. Because of its simplicity this dish pairs well with a wide variety of meats. It's particularly tasty with a nice juicy steak or hamburger, but don't be afraid to cook up a batch for breakfast. Who wouldn't enjoy carmamelized onions in the morning? Nobody, that's who!

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Pommes de Terre à la Lyonnaises (Potatoes Lyonnaise)
makes 2-3 servings 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, or other fat
1lb Yukon Gold potatoes
1 medium-sized yellow onion
sea salt
black pepper
parsley 

Directions

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off the onions, then slice into uniform pieces and set aside. 
  • In a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Once butter has melted add onions and stir to coat, then leave the onions alone. 

The key to this recipe is patience, over stirring the onions will cause them to take longer to caramelize.

  • Check onions every 10 minutes, giving them a good stir to keep them from sticking to the pan. If any of the onions look like they are getting really dark, move them to the outer edge of the pan away from the burner, this will slow down the cooking process since the pan isn't as hot along the outer edge. You can also lower the heat as necessary to keep the onions from burning.
  • While your onions are caramelizing wash and slice potatoes into ¼ inch thick rounds, add to water with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are just tender, drain water, and add potatoes to the skillet with the caramelized onions.
  • Cook potatoes over medium-low heat for 6 minutes, until they are evenly browned and slightly crispy. Flip and cook for an additional 6 minutes before removing from heat. You may want to work in batches if your skillet is not large enough. If you decide to work in batches remove the onions after the first batch and set them aside so they do not over cook.
  • Before serving finish the potatoes off with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

I've seen Potatoes Lyonnaise made with a variety of fats. I've chosen to use butter for this recipe because it is an ingredient everyone has access to, but if you'd like to lighten up this dish a little more you can use olive oil as a substitution. If you want something truly decadent, try a bit of duck fat, they give the potatoes a wonderful flavor.

Cooking time for the potatoes will vary widely depending on how large your potatoes are. I've used Size B Yukon Gold potatoes because they are small and will cook faster.

Russian Dressing

Several years ago during one of my many road trips, I stopped off at a deli for a Reuben and was completely blown away by the flavor packed into my sandwich. It was the best Reuben I'd ever had, miles ahead of anything that had previously crossed my lips and I've eaten a fair amount of Reubens in my time. It was a slow day in the shop so I spend a good 20 minutes talking with the owner trying to pin down what was so different about this particular sandwich. He proudly told me that what made his sandwich the best was the fact that everything was made from scratch in house except for the cheese which was locally made by a family friend. He went into great detail about the process of curing the corned beef, fermenting the sauerkraut, and how easy it was to make the dressing from scratch. During our talk you could tell that he enjoyed his craft and took enjoyment from the looks of ecstasy that crossed his customer's faces as they took their first bite.

From our conversation I took away several things, first of all I wanted to try to make my own corned beef some day and second, I was going to stop buying commercially prepared salad dressing. Before that conversation I never stopped to think about how easy it would be to make my own, I just picked up a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch whenever it was on sale and never gave it a second though. I'm pretty sure my love of convenience foods came to an end in the weeks following this conversation, as I realized what I had been missing out on. One of the first dressings I decided to tackle was Russian dressing, since as you can tell, I love a good Reuben and often make them at home. Not only is this dressing great on a Reuben, it's perfect on top of an ordinary salad to make it a little more interesting and it's a necessity for the Reuben salad recipe that I will be posting soon as part of our what to do with the leftover series.

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Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon dill pickle, minced
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 

Directions

  • In a bowl combine mayonnaise, ketchup, minced onion, horseradish, minced dill pickle, Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to combine.

Recipe Inspiration

Adapted from a Russian Dressing recipe from food.com

Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage

New Orleans is made up of such a spicy mix of people, so is it any wonder that this is reflected not only in their history, but also their food as well. I still remember my first visit to New Orleans when I was a teenager. I couldn't help but stare wide-eyed in wonder as we wandered around the French Quarter doing the typical tourist things. We went on walking tours and learned about history, the good times, the hard times, and the desperate times. I grew to appreciate how frank many of our guides were, not trying to hide the rougher side of history from the children in the groups. The people of New Orleans are proud, resilient people and the love they have for their city came through loud and clear with each new story I was told.

After a full day of wandering the city on our tours or trips through Jackson Square to see the street artists and fortune tellers, I was absolutely famished. The highlight to the end of my day was always where we were going for dinner and what new things I would discover that night. I often took the time to ask our waiter or waitress about the items on the menu that I didn't recognize. The cuisine was like nothing I had ever sampled before and they were always glad to point out not only their favorites, but items I would only find in their city. This was how I first discovered dirty rice and my love for it only grew every time I ordered it. 

I ended up ordering it at nearly every meal while we were visiting. Some occasions it was a main dish and other times it accompanied blackened chicken or Cajun shrimp. I sampled it with chicken hearts, gizzards, liver and spicy sausage, sometimes it had only one or two of those, other times it was a mixture of all four. Sometimes it was mildly spicy and other times it would burn your mouth off, making sure you never forgot having tried it. With every new cook their was a new version to try. I remember one person telling me that their mama made dirty rice at the end of every week, tossing in whatever leftover scraps were laying about so they wouldn't go to waste. My unfiltered teenage mouth of course had to say, oh, so it's like my mother's pot pie (which I love BTW.) He doubled over laughing and I was incredibly grateful that my mother didn't hear me.

My first trip to New Orleans cemented my love for the city and it's people as well as their cuisine. With Mardi Gras coming up soon I thought that I would share my version of Dirty Rice using Andouille Sausage rather than the traditional chicken liver and gizzards. I hope you enjoy it.

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Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage
makes 4-6 servings, can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a large group

Ingredients

2 Cups uncooked rice (I used jasmine white from Super Lucky Elephant)
1 heaping Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 Andouille Sausage, diced (approximately 7oz)

optional

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more as necessary

Directions

  • Prepare rice according to instructions listed on the package, adding 1 heaping Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning to the water before cooking.
  • Dice celery, yellow onion, red bell pepper and Andouille sausage and set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of bacon drippings, then add diced ingredients. Cook until onions are slightly transparent and tender, then add to cooked rice.
  • Add optional red pepper flakes, mix well, then serve.

Notes

If you don't have bacon drippings available cook up a batch of bacon over the weekend and save the drippings for later. They have an incredibly long shelf life when kept in a sealed container and refrigerated. Otherwise you can substitute butter or oil.

Caramelized Onions

I know that people say that bacon makes everything better, but I think that caramelized onions will take a dish to a whole new level. Consider this, would you rather have a boring old hamburger, or a patty melt, covered in caramelized onions? I can tell you that I would pick a patty melt every single time, but then again, I'm prone to eating caramelized onions straight out of the pan. In fact, I had to make a second batch because by the time they were done cooking I didn't have enough left to photograph (whoops!)

Another thing I love about caramelized onions is that, while they do take a lot of patience to make, they don't need to be closely supervised. If you're going to be busy in the kitchen this weekend getting ready for the superbowl, consider making a batch of caramelized onions. I'll be posting my recipe for caramelized onion dip this weekend, it's the perfect game time snack and worlds better than store bought dip. 

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

Cooking Time: 45m - 1 hr

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (you can use oil, but butter tastes better)
2 or more yellow onions
¼ Cup water

Directions

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off the onions, then slice into uniform pieces and set aside. 
  • In a cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, melt butter. Once butter has melted add onions and stir to coat, then leave the onions alone. 

The key to this recipe is patience, over stirring the onions will cause them to take longer to caramelize.

  • Check onions every 10 minutes, giving them a good stir to keep them from sticking to the pan. If any of the onions look like they are getting really dark, move them to the outer edge of the pan away from the burner, this will slow down the cooking process since the pan isn't as hot along the outer edge. You can also lower the heat as necessary to keep the onions from burning.
  • About 30 minutes into your cooking process, before stirring, add ⅛ cup of cold water to the hot pan. Give the onions and water a good stir, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan. This will loosen the onions from the bottom and pick up any of the dark bits that have started to form (you want these in your onions, they contain a lot of flavor.) This technique is called deglazing.
  • Repeat the previous step around the 45 minute mark, then continue cooking until your onions have reached a deep golden brown color.
  • Remove from heat and let cool before storing, or use immediately for best flavor.

Notes

Caramelized Onions will store in the fridge for up to a week.