{recipe} Pommes in a Pile

Purple potatoes and Yukon golds, butter, salt, pepper, a hot oven, and… you get Pommes in a Pile.

OK, I’m going to be completely honest with you: this did not turn out how I was expecting it to, but it was a happy accident nonetheless. I was hoping to make these crispy, delicious-looking Pommes Anna from Cook Local–and I was so excited, I could practically taste those salty, crunchy browned edges. However, I should not have been surprised when my pommes came out in a buttery, messy pile instead of in this crunchy cake form, because I a) did not use the recommended pan, b) did not follow the recipe accurately, c) did not cut the potatoes thinly enough (more on that later) and d) used way too much butter. I didn’t think it was actually possible to use too much butter, but it turns out you can. It was a pretty big shock to me. And when I flipped out the potatoes, the butter taunted me further by getting all over my countertop and spilling on to my dishwasher.

So they may not be Pommes Anna, but that much butter with that much potatoes equals that much delicious. And if you know my cooking philosophy, you know I am a big fan of working with whatever crazy-looking thing comes out of the oven, even if that means re-naming it. All of the shortcuts I took meant that it was pretty easy to make and once in the oven, a no-brainer side dish that can leave you brain space and hands to do other parts of the meal.

I didn’t peel the potatoes because I like the rustic mouthfeel and added nutrition you get from the peel. Ha ha! Just kidding. That is a complete lie. I didn’t peel the potatoes because I was lazy. I’m happy to report that it didn’t make a discernible difference. I also didn’t cut the potatoes thinly enough because I was lazy. (Sensing a theme?) I used the slicing apparatus on the food processor, which seems to be permanently set to “beefsteak tomato” because it makes really fat slices.

I recommend using a cast-iron pot like a Le Creuset or a deep cake pan or pie plate. Heat the oven to 450. Wash your potatoes and trim off any gross parts. Put them in a food processor with the slicer blade. Melt about a cube of butter. Pour a bit of the butter into the pan. Add a layer of potatoes. More butter plus salt and pepper. Repeat 5-6 times. Put foil on or a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Take the lid off and cook for 20-30 more minutes. Run a knife along the edge and flip onto a plate. Clean up all the melted butter that spills. If you use multi-colored potatoes it will look cool. I alternated layers of purple and white but I think it would have come out about the same if they were all together in a jumble. They’ll have some crispy bits on the top and sides and be soft throughout.

And if you want the crispy ones, trust me when I say–follow the right directions!

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2 comments

1 Dana { 03.28.11 at 7:12 pm }

They may not have turned out, but the purple against the white of the potatoes looks awesome.

I had never thought there could be too much butter before, that’s good (but somewhat sad) to know.

2 Karen { 03.29.11 at 11:04 am }

That’s really nice of you to say. The bottom photo of the raw potatoes got rejected by foodgawker and I was all annoyed, so your comment made me feel much better :) And yes, I’m happy/sad about the butter too!!

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