- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Potatoes O’Brien are said to have originated in New York City at a restaurant called Jacks in the early 1900s. Some say the cook wanted a spicier version of hash browns, but no one knows for sure.

Potatoes never go out of style, which might explain why there are so many variations of these colorful potatoes. Today’s version uses a small amount of fat with a tasty result.

If you have leftover cooked potatoes, use them in this recipe. Just saute them for a few minutes less to avoid overcooking them. If you are a bacon lover, fry a few pieces of bacon and use the bacon grease instead of the butter and oil. Bacon-infused potatoes are a wonderful dish to serve at breakfast and brunch.

It’s best to saute the potatoes in batches so you have an evenly cooked result. Choose any peppers you like; the multicolored minisweet peppers are nice. If you want extra heat, throw in a finely chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper. You can vary the herbs to your taste. For a Mexican hint, add some chopped cilantro; for a Mediterranean touch, add some finely chopped fresh basil.

Serve these with simple scrambled eggs, hamburgers, roast chicken, steak, lamb chops or short ribs. In other words, with just about anything!

Potatoes O’Brien

Makes 6 servings.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 small red pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 small green pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 pounds small white or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and just beginning to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to let the onion burn. Add the red and green pepper, and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until they begin to soften. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Add 1/2 tablespoon each of the remaining butter and olive oil to the same frying pan. Add half of the cubed potatoes and, turning to brown all sides evenly, cook for 5 to 7 minutes. If the potatoes seem too dry, add a little more butter or oil. Transfer the browned potatoes to the serving bowl with the other vegetables. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil and cook the remaining potatoes in the same way.

Return all the mixture to the pan. Raise the heat so that the mixture quickly warms through. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and stir to combine, then return to the serving bowl and serve immediately.

Advance preparation: These may be made 2 hours ahead and gently reheated over medium heat just before serving.


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