Smothered new potatoes

P5310286“Smothered” potatoes may sound barbaric, but smothering is every Cajun’s favorite cooking technique.  As a general-purpose cooking term describing a slightly moist braise, smothering easily applies to almost anything edible, from corn, cabbage, and green beans to bone-in chicken, beef round, and wild game.  Soft yet crispy, caramelized, fragrant with onion and garlic, this dish is 100% home cooking.

Smothered potatoes:   Cajun comfort food of the first rank.  Cheap, filling, and delicious far beyond what might be suggested by the humble ingredients, smothered potatoes  are second cousin to hash and a distant relative of home fries.  What sets the dish apart is the slow-cooking….chopped onion browns until dark golden brown in a little fat or oil, then minced garlic and potato chunks go into the skillet, along with a small amount of water, salt, and black pepper.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and braise for 30-45 minutes, occasionally scraping the crispy bits off the bottom.  If the potatoes don’t brown, remove the lid and increase the heat, continuing to cook for  or 10 minutes more.

Sure, tart up the dish with chopped andouille, sauteed with the onions.  I used half new red potatoes and half sweet potatoes in the version pictured above, along with andouille from Wayne Jacobs’ Smokehouse in Laplace and lots of fresh thyme and chopped fresh jalapenos.  Add whatever you’d like, but don’t rush the cooking time, don’t par-boil the potatoes, and don’t be surprised to find yourself making the dish again.

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