As I confessed previously, I like potatoes. I also like beans. Specifically, refried black beans (other beans also find their way into my stomach from time to time). Anyway, over the weekend I wanted a hearty and warm breakfast, but didn’t have oatmeal or eggs, and had no intention of going to the store for either. So I improvised, and made a breakfast that is a little on the starchy side, but is filling and satisfying on a cold winter morning.
Normally, this is not the type of meal I would make a post about, but I thought I would do it because I don’t think I’ve ever posted my breakfast potatoes before, and humility aside, I make a good breakfast potato. To me, a breakfast potato is an essential component of a hearty breakfast plate – When I’m feeling ambitious, I like to pair them with poached eggs, some roasted fruit, and a greens salad. They also go great alongside (or inside) an omelet, or with some gimme-lean sausage/crumbles. Typically, when I make this particular dish, with the refried beans and shredded cheese, I also add an over-easy egg.
I start with one small red or butter potato per person. You could also use one large idaho russet potato for two people. For Saturday’s breakfast for BD and me, it was two red potatoes. First I cube them into about 1/4-inch cubes. With a sharp knife, this can be quick if you first slice the potato and then stack the slices to cube them together (hold the sides with your fingers to keep them all together in a neat pile). Toss them into a medium-hot pan (nonstick if you have one), with a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil.
The secret to breakfast potatoes is the seasoning. My first breakfast potato (as opposed to home fries, roasted potatoes, or hash browns) experience happened in 2007 when I made my first trip to San Francisco, and visited with my darling dear friend Megan Kinney, who is known among our friends mostly for her baking prowess, but who knows her way around a stovetop, too! She made these potatoes for me one morning with some chili powder and garlic and salt and pepper…. I have since developed my own seasoning-blend for potatoes that fits my palate more, but if you like smokey things, the chili powder is GREAT on these breakfast potatoes. The mix I use is a no-salt mix, since I’m trying to get out of the habit of salting my food – it is generous sprinklings of garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika, and black pepper along with a small pinch of cayenne pepper. Why use powders instead of actual chopped garlic & onion? With the powder you get an even coating on all the potatoes, and you don’t have to worry about the garlic burning. There’s not much worse than burnt garlic in the morning.
Other than the seasoning, the key of breakfast potatoes is consistency. You want it to be crispy on the bottom, and soft on the inside. So after you season your potatoes, stir them around to coat evenly, and then leave them be. Cover the pan and after three minutes or so, reduce the heat to medium-low (I go to about a 2 1/2 on the dial) and leave it for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Finished breakfast potatoes….mmmm. Top with refried beans (I heat up a can of Kuner’s refried black beans with lime juice), shredded cheddar/jack and sprinkle some extra paprika for a little extra, if you so desire.