Don’t you get tired of the same old side dishes over and over? You know the standards — green beans, side salad, bread. You can cook nearly any main dish you want, add green beans, a side salad and bread and have a complete meal, can’t you? Well, there are times when I think if I have to look at one more green bean I’ll just run screaming from kitchen. That’s when I know it’s time to get more creative with the sides.
I saw this recipe being prepared by Rachael Ray on the Food Network one afternoon and thought it looked very interesting. Now, I know a lot of people want to say, but she’s not a chef! Well, you know what, neither am I! I can’t say that I’m crazy about everything she cooks, but every once in a while she comes up with a real doozy. And, let me tell you, this is one of the good ones.
This potato side dish is very substantial because of the bacon and tomato stock. Men really like it because there’s nothing fancy nor frilly about it. Next time you need a good, rib-sticking side dish, give this one a try!
2 ½ pounds small red skinned new potatoes
1 leek, trimmed of tough tops (or substitute 3-4 scallions)
4 slices bacon
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1 ripe tomato, chopped
Salt and pepper
Sour cream (optional)
Cut the potatoes into approximately one-inch pieces. Rachael’s recipe calls for red new potates. However, I just happened to have a bag of mixed fingerlings in my fridge so that’s what I used. Place the potatoes in a pot with lightly salted water.
Bring to a boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender.
If using leeks, place them in a big bowl of water and release all the dirt with a good swish, separating all the layers. Drain the leeks in a colander. If using scallions, cut off the root ends and tough green tops, then cut crosswise into ¼ to ½ inch pieces. I really prefer the scallions. They are much easier to prep and taste just as good as leeks in the finished dish.
Whenever I cook bacon for a recipe where it will be crumbled, I go ahead and cut it crosswise into pieces before I cook it. It’s much easier to handle and since you’re going to crumble it anyway, who cares if it’s all nice and straight in the pan? Just toss it in the pan and the pieces will separate when you stir it while it’s cooking.
Cook the bacon 3 to 5 minutes until it begins to crisp and has rendered most of its fat. Drain on paper towels.
Then return the bacon to the pan and add the leeks (or scallions). Cook 3 to 5 minutes more until the leeks (or scallions) are tender.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Start smashing the potatoes with about half the chicken stock. Add the bacon, leeks (or scallions) and tomatoes to the potatoes and continue to smash. Add more chicken stock as you work to obtain a thick, chunky mashed potato consistency. You want the finished dish to be chunky, not smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.