Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 67: Potatoes Made Perfect in the Home-Kitchen.

Episode 67: Potatoes made Perfect in the home kitchen.

Potatoes should be the workhorse of any home kitchen – especially in the fall and winter. They're easy to make and are a terrific main-course. Add them to any soup or stew, and they're terrific roasted in the oven or on the grill. We’ve got some useful tips so you know exactly what to buy and even better, the recipes to turn this root vegetables into meals everyone will love.


There's so many great ways to bring the spectacular spud into your home kitchen.

Here’s what you need to know:

Idaho potatoes are the same as russets potatoes are the same as baking potatoes.
These are STARCHY potatoes.
These guys have thicker skins:

  • They’ve got a good amount of starch so they’re light and fluffy on the inside.
  • Perfect choice for French fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes

AND THEY’RE PERFECT FOR making POTATO GNOCCHI and POTATO DUMPLINGS. These recipes may be a bit of a fussy, but they’re so worth the little investment of time because they are light and potato-ey. The dumplings are perfect their own – with a little tomato sauce and fresh parmesan, you can brown them and serve them as a side, and of course they are the perfect pairing in chicken and dumplings. The Gnocchi go great with the pesto sauces we featured in EPISODE 66 SEASONAL VARIATIONS ON PESTO.

Yukon Gold potatoes can be used in a lot of the same applications as the starchy potatoes – like for baked potatoes or mashed potatoes.

Here’s the difference – the Yukon Gold is a bit waxy with a thinner skin. That means that this is the go-to work-horse potato in your kitchen. Regardless of the recipe, you’ll do just fine.

Waxy Potatoes. The other potato to know is the waxy potato.  These are red potatoes or white potatoes– not those tiny little ones but the bigger ones. These waxy potatoes stay firm and hold their shape when they are cooked. So, when it comes to gratins or hash browns or potato pancakes/latkes – and especially potato salads, they can to soak up flavor without turning to mush.

Waxy potatoes are perfect for our POTATO CELERY ROOT AND CARROT LATKES recipe. You can grate the potatoes by hand or for ease in a food processor, and they can take it. They’ll hold their shape and still take on flavor.

Potato-confusion in recipes!
Recipes often lack clarity as to which potato to use. Our recipe for POTATO AND APPLE STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS only calls for “peeled potatoes,” with no other guidance. In a case like this, when no specific spud is named, choose Yukon Golds.

This recipe is a great spin on stuffed cabbage and perfect for holiday meals for vegetarians. It’s finished off with a cheese and walnut butter sauce… and it is perfection.

If you listened to our PESTO EPISODE – we talked about the recipe for smashed and crisped potatoes with the parsley garlic sauce. That recipe actually says “thin skinned potatoes, like Yukon Gold.” (it’s just so much easier when the recipe writer tells you which potato to use!)

Fingerlings are similar to the Yukon Gold because they are thin skinned and almost like new, baby potatoes. They are terrific as a side dish, or if you want to really have some fun – whip up some romesco and then steam and slice those fingerlings, and you have a great spin on chips and dip.

Buy Yukon Gold unless your recipe tells you differently.

A note on Solanine:
Solanine, a thin green layer on the potato’s exterior naturally occurs when exposed to too much light. If you see a green tinged potato, it’s probably a good indication that the potato has been held in warehouse storage for too long, or sat out in the store for too long. And while solanine can be toxic, it IS contained in that green layer so IF you have potatoes with a green tinge to them simply peel off that layer and you are good to go.

Potatoes lightened up; Chef Donna’s Skinny Potatoes
Not a fan of all the butter and cream that makes those potatoes taste oh-so-spectacular?  Try this terrific little variation on a gratin. We trade out all of the cream and substitute wine (what else?!?!?) and stock. Try Chef Donna’s Skinny Potato Gratin | Casserole.

Chef Donna’s one thing to know from this episode: potatoes can be the workhorse of any home kitchen - especially in the fall and winter. They're easy to make, and with some of the ideas here, they can be so much more than just mashed or baked! Not sure what kind of potato you need? Just reach for the Yukon Golds, and you’ll be good to go no matter what your recipe calls for.

Just commit to the idea of trying this… and we’ll get you the rest of the way there with these great recipes to get you started.

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These are RECIPES referred to in this episode. You can find more information on our Cookbooks Page.

1 Comment

  1. Jill on October 31, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks for the great info on spuds! I always learn something when I listen to Chef Donna on Now That’s a Mouthful.