I know that these look like standard-issue white potatoes. The kind that we’re not really supposed to eat if we’re following a Paleo diet. But, guess what? They’re not! However, they did fool a certain someone I know into exclaiming, “but I thought we weren’t supposed to eat potatoes?!”, as he was eating them. With a guarded hand around his bowl. And fork poised to stab me in the hand if I tried to take them away.
The trick here is to use sweet potatoes, but not the orange-fleshed ones that show up most commonly. What you’re looking for is the “white sweet potato”. As an aside, did you know that a sweet potato’s skin can come in colors ranging from “between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige” and with flesh that can be “from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple”? Me either. Until I saw some in the store. They looked like the more orange-red variety that I usually buy, but they were decidedly more on the beige side. Since Mr Meatified isn’t particularly fond of the orange type of sweet potato (actually, both of us find them too sweet unless really over seasoned!), I decided to bring a few home. What I found was a much drier, firmer flesh when they were roasted than I was used to. There was definitely more bite and texture, whereas the orange type tend to border on mushy. And that sweetness? Nope. Not in these tubers! In fact, these really tasted almost identical to the now-verboten white potato. To say we were excited may be an understatement.
My first thought was, “ZOMG MASHED POTATOES!” Probably that loudly, if not more so. However, Mr Meatified was drooling about his long-since-abandoned carborific love: breakfast potatoes. Can you guess who won that, um, debate? Yup.
So first off, we tried roasting them in the oven to put in a breakfast hash. The hash was delicious. To the point that the noises of enjoyment we were making should have been embarrassing if we weren’t, well, enjoying our food so much. But there was a necessary factor missing: crispiness. These taters just didn’t have it.
In my search for crispy-goodness, I decreased the baking time for my little seasoned breakfast cubes, then let them cool a little while I heated up a pan and plenty of oil on the stove. Both the oven baking time and the cooling period let the potatoes release as much moisture as possible. This is a really good thing if you want crispy potatoes – and also why it is near impossible to get orange sweet potato crispy as they seem to contain so much more water and to be so much softer. Then I fried those suckers. And they were gooooooooooood.
A couple of tips: I used duck fat, which makes things deliciously crispy, but you can use coconut oil. You will want to lower the heat or cook them for a little less time if you use coconut oil as they seemed to brown more quickly. And if you’re using a stainless steel pan, I can’t emphasize enough that you should heat your pan first, then your oil. Somehow this really seems to cut down on sticking almost completely. Yay. These are a little time consuming, so I usually relegate these to weekends as a treat, but I find the time worth it when I want to have something just that little bit more special than my average breakfast or brunch.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking tray.
- In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato cubes with the coconut oil and seasonings. Add salt to taste.
- Spread the cubes out on the lined baking tray in a single layer: bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a fork can pierce a cube easily but firmly. The cubes should not be soft or mushy.
- Remove the tray of potatoes from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack.
- In a large skillet, heat your duck fat (or additional coconut oil) over medium heat. Not too hot that the fat smokes - on my stovetop this was a 4.5 / 10 setting.
- Add the potato cubes to the pan. If you do not have a very large skillet, you will have to do two separate batches.
- Spread the potatoes out in a single layer and fry for 5 - 8 minutes, tossing every minute or so to brown on all sides and be done to your desired level of crispiness
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