Week 26: Potato, Pahtato
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday spending some well-deserved time with family and friends, and eating delicious farm-fresh meals. We would love to see pictures of your Thanksgiving farm feasts – post to our general Facebook page, our Facebook CSA group, or tag us on Instagram (@moutouxorchard). FARM PRO TIP: Freeze your turkey carcass for a future batch of bone broth.
Did you all notice the new CSA layout, cool light fixtures, and modern wire railing going up to the loft!? The barn has morphed into a hip little Moutoux store with aisles and room to peruse!
And take a peek at the fields to the west of the barn (on the left hand side when you are driving in). Moutoux is rotating the crop fields and continuing to improve soil health. Cover crops have been planted for the winter and 1,000 strawberry plants are under that big white tarp.
The pre-ordered Open Book Farm turkeys will be available at the Tuesday, Nov 26th CSA pickup.
Small Business Saturday is November 30th. Go out and support local!
Freeze your turkey carcass. Write yourself a note, set a reminder on your phone.
Talk of the Friday CSA pickup was the potatoes – which types were the best for what. Isn’t a potato a potato? Simple answer – No. But don’t feel bad, I hadn’t the clue either. This blog post came to be as simple as that.
All potatoes fall into 3 categories: High-Starch, Medium-Starch, and Low-Starch. And it’s the starch level that determines how the potato is best used. New Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are also highlighted.
High-Starch Potatoes. High in starch = low in moisture content. They are fluffy which makes them perfect for baking or any dish that requires light flesh that breaks apart easily, whips to lump-free perfection, and absorbs milk and butter well. Perfect for mashing, baking, roasting and frying. However, they absorb water and don’t hold their shape well, unsuitable for dishes like casseroles, gratins, potato salads, soups, and stews. The starch changes both the taste and the texture when it cools or sits too long so these potatoes should be eaten soon after cooking.
Russet. Discovered in the 1870’s by farmer Luther Burbank in Massachusetts, commonly called the Idaho potato. Available year round, with peak season in early winter through late spring. Flesh is pale white, firm, dense, and floury. When cooked it becomes fluffy and light with a smooth, buttery flavor and mild, earthy undertones. Claim to fame is the McDonald's French fries and accounts for 70% of the potato market in North America.
Blue/Purple Peruvian. High starch, same qualities as Russet. Makes dramatic fries and chips due to their color that doesn’t fade when cooked.
Medium-Starch Potatoes. Often referred to as “all-purpose” potatoes, this class adapt to the widest number of cooking methods. They fall in between the high-starch and low-starch. They hold their shape better than high-starch varieties and their flesh is moister. Well suited for baking, mashing, roasting, frying, and perfect for potato salads, curries, soups, and stews.
Kennebec. Hybrid variety created in the greenhouses of the Plant Industry Station at Beltsville, MD in 1941. Peak season in late summer through early winter. While they can be used for an assortment of culinary applications, they are most widely made into chips and French fries. Their best virtues are displayed through frying (steak fries, hash browns, shoestring potatoes, French fries, potato skins, chips, and Hasselback). Currently being sought out by chefs for their nutty flavor and superior frying qualities.
White. Extremely flavorful and perform well when baked, mashed, fried, or roasted. And hold their shape in stews or soups. Unlike high-starch potatoes, they can be reheated without loss of flavor or texture. Excellent fried or in a hash, or used in potato pancakes or topping in shepherd’s pie.
Yukon Gold. Thin skin and buttery flesh, they become flaky and somewhat starchy when cooked, making it good for mashing. Yet it is still firm and waxy enough to hold its shape when shredded, simmered, or boiled. Can be combined with russets for a mashed potato with the best of both worlds.
Purple Majesty and Adirondack Blue. Lower starch content than traditional blue/purple Peruvian potatoes. They retain enough starch to be suitable for backing or mashing, but are at their best roasted, in soups, or mixed into a potato salad. Color fades when steamed or boiled.
Low-Starch Potatoes. Low in starch = high in water content. Often referred to as “waxy” potatoes, low-starch potatoes are best in dishes that call for potatoes that hold their shape, such as buttered potatoes, potato salads, soups, stews, and casseroles.
Red. Cultivated in the mountains of Peru and brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 1560s. Although red potatoes is a generic term for several varieties, they form the most common of the low-starch potatoes. Flesh is crisp, white, and firm. Waxy and dense texture and a mild, buttery and earthy flavor. Their thin skins, which are edible, do not need to be peeled and retain their red color when cooked. Especially popular in potato salads or smashed potatoes.
Fingerlings. These are cultivated as an heirloom potato and despite their size are fully mature when harvested. Best way to enjoy them is roasted, grilled or sautéed with their skins on.
New Potatoes. This is not a variety of potato and isn’t defined based on starch level, but rather when they are harvested. New potatoes, also known as Baby Potatoes or Creamers, are harvested before they are mature typically between April and July. Although they reflect the characteristics of their parent variety, New Potatoes are more tender and sweeter than mature potatoes because the sugar in them has yet to convert to starch. The paper-thin skins are left on for cooking. Especially popular roasted with herbs and garlic, creamed with fresh peas, or simply steaming or boiling and serving with butter. This is your springtime picnic or mid-summer BBQ go-to.
Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are not related to the tubers listed above. Unlike the leaves of standard potato plants, which are toxic, the leaves of sweet potatoes are edible and nutritious. Sweet potatoes are relatively carbohydrate rich, making them equal to potatoes when it comes to baking, mashing, frying, and other traditional potato dishes.
DRY-BRINED TURKEY WITH ROASTED ONIONS
1 12- to 16-pound fresh turkey
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon of a chile paste — gochujang, harissa, or chipotle — plus more to taste
8 to 10 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower, safflower, or another high-heat friendly oil
1 to 2 days before serving: Make sure the giblets (usually in a bag) are removed from the turkey’s cavity. Sprinkle all over with kosher salt, using about 1 tablespoon per 4 pounds of bird, including some into cavities. I do this on a rack in my roasting pan. Loosely cover with plastic and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, and until 4 to 5 hours before you want to serve it.
1 to 2 hours before roasting: Remove plastic and discard any juices that have collected around the bird. Allow to come to room temperature, which will take 1 to 2 hours. No need to rinse any salt off the bird; it’s all as it should be.
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours before serving: Heat oven to 450°F with a rack on the lowest level of the oven. If you plan to stuff the turkey with anything, do so now. Truss the legs (tying them together) with kitchen twine or any other string you have around.
Toss the onions with a splash of oil (don’t worry about seasoning, they’ll collect it from the pan) and arrange around the turkey. Combine 1 tablespoon of the melted butter with the maple syrup and chili paste in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Brush this — or use your hands to coat — all over the turkey, leaving none behind. Here you’re supposed to tuck the wings under the bird to prevent the tips from burning, something I have never successfully done, if we’re being honest. Have a big piece of foil nearby for when you will want to cover the turkey.
Roast turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then — this is very important — reduce the oven heat to 350° and continue roasting the bird until a thermometer in thickest part of the breast reads 150 to 155.
Beginning when you reduce the heat, periodically baste the turkey with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter, and then, when you’re out of butter, with the juices from the pan.
This turkey is going to brown fairly quick and quite dark. Don’t fret, it will not taste burnt, but go ahead and put the foil on when it gets as dark as you can stand it. Rotate the pan in the oven a couple times, and turn onions in pan over once, for even cooking. Remove the foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of roasting, so the skin crisps up again.
A 14 to 16 pound bird takes a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. A 19.5 pound bird once took over 3 hours. Keep in mind that if you’re opening and closing the oven door a bunch of times to move other dishes around, it will take longer to cook (up to 30 minutes).
Rest, carve, and serve: Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before carving, which you should estimate 20 or so minutes to do, depending on your comfort level. This will allow the juices to be locked in and the turkey to carry over to an internal temperature of 165°F. Use the rest time to rewarm any sides that need it and to make gravy (see below). When you slice the turkey, make sure your knife is really, really sharp to get those clean cuts.
Your turkey is going to spill a lot of juices while you carve it. Do you best to collect them, then pour it over the sliced turkey, plus a final sprinkle of salt and pepper, before serving to keep it warm and seasoned. Arrange onions all around and serve with glee. You totally rocked this; I knew you would.
>Buying turkeys: Heritage- or pasture-raised tend to taste a lot better, if you can find them. Estimate 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person; I tend to aim to the lower range because we don’t love leftovers and there are so many sides. If your turkey is frozen, defrost 2 to 3 days before in the fridge. They say it takes about 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey. You cannot defrost it at room temperature; it’s just not safe.
>Salt: I use Diamond brand kosher salt which clocks in at 135 grams a cup which is only important to note because the weight over other brands varies significantly, especially at this quantity. Morton brand = 230 grams per cup and David’s = 288 grams. So, please use half or just about half if you’re using another brand to avoid significantly over-salting your turkey.
>Doneness: Your turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast reads 150F to 155F, or in the thigh at 165F, however, I prefer checking the breast. Thighs are smaller and often hit the “done” temperature sooner but are more forgiving of a few extra degrees. Nobody is forgiving of undercooked turkey breast.
>Logistics: Here’s a logistical tip I don’t think enough recipes make clear: You want to rest your turkey for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it, tented lightly with foil. It’s then going to take 15 to 20 minutes to carve. This gives you 30 to 45 minutes of empty oven time where you can reheat sides, which is more than most need.
>Extra ingredients: This is — and I know this is very bizarre to many people — and herb- and garlic-free turkey. If you’d like, you can toss 1 lemon and 1 head of garlic, each sliced in half crosswise, and a fistful of thyme, rosemary, and/or sage inside the turkey. I’ve made this turkey with none of these things and I’ve made this turkey with all of these things and I want you to know that it’s excellent both ways. The fragrance of the turkey is more dynamic with the lemon and garlic, but it doesn’t make a large difference, in my opinion, in the final flavor of the slices, so proceed as you wish.
>Cookware: Roasting pan.
VERY SIMPLE GRAVY
8 cups turkey or chicken stock
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dry marsala or cider vinegar
Melt butter in an empty pot or your emptied roasting pan and stir in flour. Cook this mixture over moderate heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add marsala or vinegar, cooking for another minute. Add stock a little at a time, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
However, there are three ways to approach this. The first, above, straight gravy and it’s ideal for people who do not want to stress about it, don’t want to wait until the more frenetic time when the turkey is out and needs to be curved, and even want to make it earlier in the day and rewarm it.
The second is more traditional. You use the same formula but you first pour off drippings that have collected under your turkey. Put them in a glass to allow them to separate. Swap whatever fat accumulates on top with the same amount of butter in the recipe, and drippings with the equivalent amount of broth, and proceed as written.
The third is a little riskier, but you only live once, right? Place your roasting pan across two stove burners, and bring the liquid (which is a mixture of fat and juices) to a boil. Deglaze the pan, loosening any stuck bits, with a glug of dry marsala or a wine of your choice. Boil all of the juices off until only the fat remains. Eyeball it — you might have just 2 to 3 tablespoons, or you might have more. Add enough butter to get you to 8 tablespoons. Add the flour, and then, since you’ve concentrated flavors so intensely here, you can replace half of the stock with water, to essentially rehydrate them. Season as needed and cook as you would the core recipe.
Note: Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman (https://smittenkitchen.com/2019/11/dry-brined-turkey-with-roasted-onions/)
TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH KALE
3 Russet potatoes
1 bundle kale, swiss chard or spinach (10 ounces)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large leek or onion
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar, gruyere or comté, 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese or goat cheese, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
Heat oven to 400°F (205°C).
Cook potatoes the first time: Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel. Pierce all over with a fork so that steam escapes. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer. Leave oven on. [Alternatively, you could microwave fork-pierced potatoes for 10, turning them over halfway through to ensure even cooking. You could also boil the whole potato for 15 minutes.]
While potatoes cook, prepare your filling: Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems (you can save the stems for another use, such as a vegetable stock or juicing) and plunge leaves in cold water to remove any residual dirt or grit. No need to dry them when you’re done. Tear leaves into large chunks. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse. Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls. On a cutting board, finely chop greens. You should have about a cup of wrung-out, well-chopped greens; don’t worry if you have a little more or less.
Thinly slice leek/onion.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil. Once both are warm, add leek/onion and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until mostly tender and sweet, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try to avoid letting it brown. Add chopped greens back to skillet and warm with leek/onion, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
Prepare potatoes: When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness of skin and potato (essentially, you want to leave a shell inside for stability) and add potato filling to bowl with leeks and greens. Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet. Mash potatoes, leeks and greens together until smooth. Stir in the sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper than you think you’ll need. Heap filling in prepared potato skins. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 of cheese.
Bake potatoes a second time: For 20 to 30 minutes, until bronzed and crisp on top.
Note: Serves 6 as a side; 3 as a hearty main.
CREAMY MASHED POTATOES
4 pounds medium-starch (all-purpose) potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" pieces
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBSP plus 2 TSP kosher salt, divided, plus more
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 thyme sprigs
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 2 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
1/2 cup sour cream
Cover potatoes, garlic, and 1 Tbsp. salt with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer (do not boil) until potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife but not falling apart, 20–25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat milk, thyme, and 3/4 cup butter in a small pot over medium, stirring, until butter is melted. Remove from heat; set aside.
Drain potatoes and garlic; return to pot. Toss over low heat until moisture evaporates, 1–2 minutes. Using potato ricer or food mill, immediately press potatoes and garlic into a large bowl (do not let cool).
Discard thyme from milk mixture and gradually stir into potatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup if you plan to make in advance (see Do Ahead). Season with 2 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper. Fold in sour cream and stir with a spoon until incorporated and very smooth (do not overmix or potatoes will become gummy). Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve topped with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and more pepper.
>Do Ahead: Mashed potatoes can be made 2 hours ahead; cover and store at room temperature. Or chill, covered, up to 8 hours; reheat over medium with reserved 1/2 cup milk mixture.
>Cooks' Note: Yields 8-10 servings. We like the texture a ricer gives mashed potatoes, but if you don't have one or prefer a chunkier potato, feel free to use a hand masher.
GARLIC ROASTED POTATOES
3 pounds small red or white potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.