Crispy Braised Red Potatoes

It’s that time of year again when fresh baby red potatoes are flooding the farmers’ markets. I stock up on them as often as I can because they are absolutely amazing when prepared this way: they’re kind of steamed, kind of roasted and 100 percent delicious.

Braising the potatoes in water steams the interior to give them a nice, creamy texture, and browning them in butter gives them a flavorful, crispy crust. Once you try these, you’ll be hooked, too!

Crispy Braised Red Potatoes
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

1½ pounds red potatoes (can also use Yukon gold), unpeeled, halved across middle
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 4-6 pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups water
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Arrange potatoes cut-side down in a large nonstick skillet. Keep them in a single layer and don’t pack them in too tight.

Scatter the chunks of butter and smashed garlic cloves among the potatoes and then add the thyme, salt and water.

Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and sprigs of thyme; discard thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until water evaporates and butter starts to sizzle, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the potatoes continue cooking, mince the garlic into a paste. Transfer the garlic paste to a large bowl and add the pepper; set aside.

Continue to cook potatoes, swirling pan frequently, until butter browns and the cut sides of the potatoes start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Once the potatoes have a nice, brown crust, add them to the bowl with the minced garlic. Toss to coat and serve.

Step by Step Details

Start with some of the freshest baby red potatoes you can find. Yukon gold potatoes will also work in this recipe.  

Cut the potatoes in half (across the equator vs lengthwise) and arrange them loosely in a single layer with a little elbow room. Granted, a Mr. Potato Head® is probably the only potato with actual elbows, but you get my drift.

Scatter the chunks of butter and smashed garlic cloves among the potatoes and then add the thyme, salt and water.

Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. By now the butter will have melted.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes or until a knife or fork slides into a potato easily.

Remove the garlic and thyme; keep the garlic and toss the thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until water evaporates and butter starts to sizzle.

While the potatoes continue cooking, mince the garlic into a paste. It’s so soft from cooking that just a couple presses with the side of a knife should do the trick.

Transfer the garlic paste to a large bowl and add the pepper; set aside.

Continue to cook potatoes, swirling pan frequently, until the butter and little crunchy bits start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

Keep swirling the pan until the potatoes have a nice, brown crust.

Transfer the browned potatoes the bowl with the minced garlic and toss to coat. Serve while hot and crispy. Enjoy!


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