We asked for our community’s best winter potato recipe, and you all delivered. From creamy and comforting gratins to elegant potato-stuffed pastries (shout out to our runner-up, Bevi’s Everything Baked Potato Puff Pastries), choosing just one was not an easy task. After multiple rounds of recipe testing, narrowing down the finalists, and asking our community to vote, we finally have a winner: ‘World Famous’ Mahogany Potatoes by Lisanne Weinberg, known on our site as creamtea.
To celebrate the occasion, we chatted with the recipe developer about this winning potato dish—and why it has resonated with so many home cooks over the years.
The recipe has been on our site for over a decade. Why do you think it’s had such staying power and continues to resonate with readers?
First of all, let me say that I’m absolutely delighted with the “staying power” of this recipe! I believe the recipe resonates with readers because of the ease-to-deliciousness ratio. You simply place potatoes cut-side down in a single layer in an oiled pan and place it in a hot oven. Then relax, read a novel, knit, or prep your main dish. Just before they’re done, dice the onion, then add to the hot potatoes and toss with a good deal of salt and the lemon juice. With a side salad and a main, you’ve got a complete meal with minimal effort. They’re great for any holiday when you have other more complex dishes to attend to.
In the years that you’ve been making these potatoes, are there any variations you’ve tried? Would you recommend any of them?
As far as alterations to the original recipe, at times I’ve seasoned the pan with my favorite spice blend after pouring in the oil. But I always return to the original method; it’s just that good that it needs no tampering.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when making this recipe for the first time?
Be patient! You want these potatoes very, very well-browned. The Maillard reaction is an ingredient in itself, so it’s very important to wait for a good, dark crisp that adds such a mysteriously good flavor to this dish. They should be roasted in a single layer and are best in cast-iron, but a roasting pan works perfectly well. Although potatoes will lift from the pan with the nudge of a knife when cooked through, they’ll need to brown further to be at optimum flavor. Add the remaining ingredients as soon as the potatoes are well-done and while hot.
What do you recommend serving these potatoes with?
I often serve them as a side to roasted chicken or beef, as the acid from the potatoes cuts the richness; for a meat-free meal, I have also served them with a roasted vegetable dinner (the latter prepped and cooked separately). They’re great alongside fish or an omelet filled with smoked salmon and yogurt. However you serve them, I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.
Can you share a little bit about your background and what inspires you as a home cook?
As is true for many home cooks, my mother’s approach to cooking was influential for me. She was an experimental cook for her time, in the ‘60s and ‘70s when I was growing up. She preferred simple, yet flavorful dishes. Later, my college roommate and best friend taught me a thing or two about fine cooking and flavor. We both needed to eat, so we needed to cook!
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