This is another truly "unwritten" recipe, from my dear sweet Auntie Mirrie, who is no longer physically with us, but who I think about all the time. Technically, she wasn't really my aunt, but in the things that really matter, she (and her family) were and still are, in my inner family circle, the one that doesn't take blood or legal connections into account. In addition to being a fantastic pianist, she was a great cook (she helped inspire my love of cooking) and these potatoes were one of her signature dishes, simple, classic and comforting...just like her.
Auntie Mirrie, Uncle Harry and their daughter emigrated to this country from England at about the same time that my grandparents and mom came to America from England as well. Coincidentally, they both lived in the same apartment building and the families became fast friends, helped no doubt by the fact that both families had daughters that were about the same age. The two girls became best friends and still are today. Fortunately, the friendships have continued on into the next generations (Mirrie's granddaughter and I spent much of our young lives together) and even today our families still talk regularly and spend many holidays together.
These potatoes were a Thanksgiving tradition for many years and they are just so darn delicious. The potatoes get nice and crispy and the little bits of onion get caramelized and chewy. Everyone always used to fight over those onions! It's also really easy to make. You just peel and parboil baking potatoes, slice up an onion, toss all of those in a pan coated with oil, add a little salt and pepper and bake them for about 1 1/2 hours.
Though I always associate these with the holidays, the truth is that these make a wonderful accompaniment to any dinner. They're one of those great family recipes that deserve to get passed down from generation to generation.
So, thank you again, Auntie Mirrie, we all love you and miss you!
Auntie Mirrie's Roast Potatoes
4 large potatoes serves 4-6 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 1 1/2 hours
4 large Idaho baking potatoes
1 large onion, sliced thinly
vegetable oil to coat pan
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pour a small amount of oil into a baking pan--I used about a tablespoon--you just want to barely coat the potatoes and onions.
2. Peel the potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place in a medium pot filled with cold lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, just until a fork can pierce the potatoes but not until they're fully cooked. Drain in colander.
3. Place the sliced onion in the pan with the oil and put it into the oven for a few minutes to warm it. Remove, add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste and with a large spoon, coat the potatoes and onions with the oil. Return the baking pan to the oven and cook for 45 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven and using tongs or a metal spatula, turn potatoes over so that tops can get nicely crisped as well. Return to oven to cook for another 45 minutes or until potatoes and onions are golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.