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Looking down on golden brown home fries in a cast-iron skillet with chopped Italian parsley on top.

Irresistible Loaded Home Fries

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1½ hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Brunch
  • Method: Baking, Frying
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The only way to enjoy creamy, crispy home fries at, well, home!  Boiling potatoes can allow them to absorb too much moisture, especially if you forget about the pot during boiling. But steaming them in the oven gets them perfectly tender, dry, and ready for frying.

Frying the steamed potatoes in sausage fat is my favorite way to go, but any oil you like works great.


Ingredients

Scale

For Basic Home Fries

  • 4 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into quarter- to half-inch cubes
  • High-heat oil for frying, avocado, peanut, or canola, recommended
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flake salt (but always to taste... season a little, then taste, and repeat) 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, optional

For Italian-inspired, Add: 

  • 8 ounces hot or sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped very small
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, minced (chopped very small)
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced very thin
  • ½ grated or shredded Parmesan
  • 1-2 tablespoons Italian parsley, optional

For Loaded, Add:

  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced 
  • 4 strips of bacon (one per person), chopped small or sliced cross-wise into quarter-inch wide pieces
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese*
  • 2 tablespoons chives or scallions, sliced thin
  • Sour cream, crème fraîche or plain Greek yogurt, for garnish

Instructions

Gather all of your equipment and ingredients. Prepare your ingredients as they will be used in the recipe. If peeling the potatoes, do so before dicing. Mise en place! Everything in place!

Steam the Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line one or two large baking pans with parchment paper, or use non-stick pans.
  2. Spread the diced potatoes evenly on your baking pan(s). Drizzle a small amount of water among the potatoes on each pan, about one to two tablespoons. Cover the pans tightly with foil.
  3. Bake the potatoes until they are tender, but not mushy. After 15 minutes, use a fork to gauge doneness. The potatoes are done when you can easily pierce the largest pieces with a fork. When in doubt, taste one!
  4. Once the potatoes are tender, turn off the oven and remove the foil. Leave the pans of potatoes in the oven with the heat off for ten minutes. 
  5. Remove potatoes from the oven and cool completely. This can be done up to two days ahead. Store steamed potatoes in the refrigerator. 

Fry the Potatoes

  1. Fry the steamed potatoes in batches over medium to medium-high heat until they are a rich golden brown color, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fight the urge to stir!
  2. Flip the potatoes only once or twice with a large, flat spatula, and add more oil as necessary to keep the home fries from sticking. The potatoes should begin browning within a few minutes. If not, turn the heat up. If they are burning or browning too quickly, turn the heat down. 
  3. Once all of the potatoes are fried, return all batches to the skillet and season with a couple of healthy pinches of salt and a little black pepper.
  4. Taste a couple of potatoes to judge if you'd like more salt or pepper. Gently stir the home fries to distribute the seasoning.

For Italian-inspired Home Fries

  1. Cook the fresh sausage in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat until fully cooked. Then remove it from the pan and drain it on a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board. 
  2. Fry the potatoes in the pork fat using the method above, adding oil as necessary to maintain a thin coating on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once all of the potatoes in the last batch are fried, push them to one side of the pan and shift that portion of the pan off the burner.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Cook the mushrooms in a small bit of oil in the space you created in the pan. Once the mushrooms are browned and shrink in size, add the onions with the mushrooms and cook until they are slightly browned.
  6. Add the garlic and tomatoes and heat until hot, stirring gently to combine the potatoes with the vegetables.
  7. Gently mix the sausage and any reserved fried potatoes back into the pan, stirring gently to distribute. Heat until all the potatoes and ingredients are hot, then turn off the heat. 
  8. Season with a couple of pinches of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. Taste a few home fries to see if you'd like more of either. 
  9. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley (if using) on top before serving.

For Loaded Home Fries

  1. Fry the bacon until nearly crisp over medium heat. Remove from the pan, and set aside on paper towels of a kitchen towel to absorb the grease.
  2. Fry your steamed potatoes in batches in the bacon fat over medium-high using the method above. Add additional oil to the pan to maintain a thin coating on the bottom.
  3. At the end of the last batch of potatoes, add a splash of oil, the diced onions, and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Fry over medium heat with the potatoes until they just begin to brown. Stir gently a couple of times. 
  4. Return any potatoes from earlier batches to the pan. 
  5. Mix in small pieces of cooked bacon, stirring gently to combine. Cook over medium just until all the ingredients are hot. 
  6. Top the home fries with several handfuls of your chosen shredded cheese.
  7. To melt the cheese, cover the skillet with foil and turn the heat to low (or even off, the residual heat is often enough to melt the cheese). Remove the pan from the heat immediately once the cheese is melted and gooey, after just a few minutes. Or pop your skillet in a 350° F oven for a few minutes (as long as it's an oven-safe pan).
  8. To serve loaded home fries, sprinkle sliced, fresh chives or scallions on top and several dollops of sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche.

Notes

Chef's Tips

Once a round of home fries is that beautiful deep golden brown, I push it off to the side and add more. Shifting the pan slightly off-center of the burner keeps the finished potatoes warm but prevents them from burning.

Storage + Reheating

Store leftover home fries (yeah, right!) in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, spread the home fries out on a parchment paper-lined or nonstick baking pan. Warm in a 350° F oven until hot. Microwaving leftovers will turn them to mush, and undo all your hard work. 

Nutrition Facts

The Nutrition Information below is for the Loaded Home Fries version of the recipe, assuming you use avocado oil. To eliminate a bulk of the saturated and trans fat (partially-hydrogenated fat), ditch the bacon.  The totals below are a worst-case scenario! If you add loads of vegetables instead of bacon and cheese, the home fries will offer much more fiber and nutrients, and less saturated fat. 

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