From the garden to the Thanksgiving table

There is much to be thankful for in freshly dug, home-grown potatoes, not only for their taste and traditional place on the Thanksgiving menu but also their versatility. Don’t let the mashed potatoes placed between stuffing and turkey and smothered in gravy be the only way you serve them.

Include them as an appetizer, soup or dessert or put fresh boiled potatoes through a potato ricer and serve in a fluffy, rice-like mound.

Tater Skin Appetizers

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes

Scrub potatoes, prick with fork and bake at 425 F (220 C) for 50 minutes or until tender, then cool. Cut in about six sections lengthwise. Scoop pulp from skins leaving 1/4-inch (.5 cm) shell. Save potato pulp for later, see below. Top with one of the following:

  • Cheese and Bacon
  • 2 tsp. oil 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. chili powder 5 mL
  • several drops hot pepper sauce
  • 6 strips crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. green onion or chives, finely chopped 30 mL
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL (optional)

Combine oil, chili powder and hot pepper sauce. Brush inside of potato skins with mixture.
Place skin side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle potatoes with bacon, tomato, onion or chives and cheese. Bake at 425 F (220 C) 10 minutes or until cheese melts and potatoes are heated through. Serve hot with sour cream.

Dilled Skins

  • 1 tbsp. oil 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried dill weed 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. onion powder 10 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 1 mL
  • black pepper to taste

Mix seasonings and oil in a sealable plastic bag, add potato skins, seal bag and massage to cover skins with oil and seasonings.

Place potatoes skin-side down on foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 F (200 C) 20-25 minutes until skins are crispy and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Nacho Skins

  • 1 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 250 mL
  • 1 c. Colby cheese, shredded 250 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder 2 mL
  • sliced jalapeno peppers, sliced olives, sliced pimiento or diced green chilies

Mix cheese and chili in a bowl. Place potato skins on foil-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cheese and chili mixture.
Bake at 400 F (200 C) 20-25 minutes until skins are crispy and cheese is melted. Serve immediately with a choice of toppings.
Note: If making these appetizers ahead of time, prepare, cover and chill for up to 24 hours, then bake as directed and serve.

Tavern Cheese Soup

This flavourful soup could be served in small bowls as a starter to a meal or fill larger bowls for a satisfying lunch.

  • 5 c. Russet potatoes, peeled and diced 1.25L
  • 1 1/2 c. water 375 mL
  • 1 c. celery, chopped 250 mL
  • 1 c. leeks, chopped 250 mL
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules 10 mL
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded 250 mL
  • 2 c. milk 500 mL
  • 1 c. beer or water 250 mL
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper 2 mL

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring potatoes, water, celery, leeks and bouillon to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from heat, do not drain, then mash mixture until smooth. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in milk, beer, Worcestershire sauce, salt, dry mustard and white pepper and cook over low heat until hot. Serve immediately. Garnish with shredded cheese and pepper.
Source: Adapted from I Love Potatoes Cookbook, Potato Growers of Alberta.

Mashed Potato Doughnuts

  • 1 c. reserved potato pulp from Tater Skins or plain mashed potatoes 250 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 2 mL
  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 875 mL
  • 1/4 c. baking powder 60 mL
  • 1/ 2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 2 mL
  • canola oil for frying
  • cinnamon and sugar for garnish

Mash the reserved potato pulp in a large bowl, add sugar, mix. Stir in eggs, milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, mix well. Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness.
Cut with a floured doughnut cutter or use a large floured glass, then use an empty glass spice jar to cut out the doughnut hole. In a large skillet, heat several inches of oil until hot. Fry several at a time, turning when golden on one side. Scraps of dough can be rolled into small balls and fried along with the doughnut holes.
Drain on paper towels or place hot ones in a bowl and toss with white sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm or store in an airtight container. Reheat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Makes three dozen. Freezes well.

Potato types and uses

  • Russets are brown and oblong. Known as bakers but also good mashed or as fries.
  • Reds are round with red skins and white flesh. Best boiled, roasted or scalloped. Keep shape during cooking.
  • Yellows are oblong with light yellow skins and flesh. Best boiled, roasted and scalloped. Take longer to cook than Reds or Russets.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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