Kitchen Tip – How to avoid mushy potatoes in stews and soups

I love potatoes.  It must be the Dutchman in me.

However, I hate mushy potatoes.  I can understand mushy potatoes in something like a Potato and Leek soup.  Mushy, as in pureed.  It still had better have some good, toothy chunks of potatoes in it though, just to add a little substance to it.  Bacon too, but I digress.

Want to put a stew or soup on the stove or in the oven, but don’t want to worry about what time you need to put in the potatoes to get them all cooked in?  And don’t want to throw them all in when you put everything in the pot and probably end up with mushy, mealy potatoes?

Here’s what you do.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wskrz/5469205063/

Cut up your potatoes as you normally would, peeling them if you’d like.  I use Yukon Golds, because I love their flavor and how well they keep after a few hours of steaming.  If you’d like, add a little dash of salt to them. Wrap them up in a foil packet, sealing them tight and place on top of your soup or stew, then cover and simmer your stew for however many hours you’d like, or place in the oven for a few hours. Not only will your dinner cook, but so will your potatoes.

When you’re ready to serve, carefully unwrap the packet and pour your nicely steamed chunks of potatoes into your stew and stir them in.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wskrz/5469205033/in/photostream/

An extra bonus – this works with Crock Pots and slow cookers too.  Do the same thing: wrap up your potatoes in a foil packet, place on top of your food, cover and let cook.  Since they’re happily steaming away in their own little environment, they’ll be just fine.

Bon appetit!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wskrz/5469204993/in/photostream/

(PS – if you want to add frozen peas to your soup or stew though, like I did, don’t put them in the pot before you cook everything together.  They won’t be green when you’re done.  Just stir them, still frozen, into your soup or stew about the same time you put in the potatoes, or about five or ten minutes before serving.  The residual heat from the stew and the pot will cook them and keep them green)

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