“Roasted Potatoes” are magical words to a Russian heart. It is something very familiar and comforting for most people. In post-Soviet countries, potatoes are consumed in very large quantities, year round. Roasted potatoes are a quick and easy dinner and are usually accompanied by some kind of smoked or pickled fish, vegetables (both fresh and marinated) and, of course, sour cream. Roasted potatoes with mushrooms are an added layer of comfort, satisfaction, and peace. It is what stove-top grilled cheese is to the American heart (and stomach) – familiar, simple, most likely to remind you of childhood.
Tournée vs. Smaller size
In classic French cooking, there is a way to cut potatoes for cooking called Tournée. “Tourner” in French is “to turn” and because this shape allows potatoes to turn constantly, while cooking, they “turn“ out delicious.
However, this cut is much more suitable for a restaurant kitchen or if you have a lot of cooking going on and can reuse the scraps. Otherwise, it’s a lot of work and a lot of scraps that go to waste.
This recipe combines the idea (turning continuously, while cooking), and much more appropriate (in home cooking) utilization of a vegetable. Peeling baby potatoes is still a bit time consuming, but it’s really simple. Especially if you have someone helping, since it doesn’t require supervision or much explaining.
I have tested this recipe three times, trying different potatoes and different mushrooms, and this combination is my favorite. It really is a comforting, simple little dish that costs little to make and works with everything. I hope you like it as much as I did – potatoes, when cooked this way, are some of the best I’ve had. They’re almost creamy, but hold their shape wonderfully, with a beautiful, golden-brown sear on the outside. Mushrooms add a spongy, earthy flavor that goes really well with potatoes. And, of course, garlic – but that hardly needs justifying.
Roasted Baby Potatoes with Shiitake Mushrooms
- Heavy, thick bottomed skillet such as cast iron
- 24 oz baby gold potatoes
- 4 oz fresh baby shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and left whole (sliced, if not using “baby” shiitake) Let the moisture drain after rinsing or dab with paper towel.
- 1 Tb butter
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or minced finely
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 Tb olive oil
Toppings (optional, but highly recommended)
- sour cream
- scallions or dill
- Peeling potatoes is the most time consuming part of this recipe. Rinse before peeling, place a wet paper towel on a plate and prepare another wet one to cover the potatoes. Rinsing them after peeling will deprive them of starch, which is crucial for the final flavor. Wipe after peeling.
- Pre-heat 1 Tb butter and the olive oil over medium heat in a skilled.
- Add the garlic, and cook until just begins to brown.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until softened.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Carefully wipe the skillet with a dry paper towel and add butter and olive oil
- Add the potatoes and sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over them. Roll them back and forth (easiest way to do this is to pick up the skillet with both hands and ”swish” it from side to side. The goal is to cover potatoes in the oil and butter mixture, and salt.
- Place the skillet back on the stove and cook for about 20 minutes, rolling the potatoes every two minutes. Monitor the heat, if potatoes are browning too quickly, lower the heat. If they are not browning at all, or slowly, add more heat. The same with butter, add more if you see it’s all gone too soon.
- After 15 minutes, check by piercing the largest potato with a knife. If the largest one is cooked, then the smaller ones are definitely cooked.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to rid them of excess grease. Transfer back to the skillet, mix in the mushroom and garlic mixture to heat through.
- Serve with sour cream and herbs on top, if desired.