Local food has attracted a lot of attention in recent years, but the concept is not new. In Original Local (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013), author Heid E. Erdrich delves into the recipes of indigenous people who have always made the most of nature’s gifts. This recipe for Red River Garlic-Smashed Potatoes is from Section 4, “Gathering.”
You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Original Local.
For generations, Ojibwe people (and probably Dakota, too) living near the Red River Valley hired on to harvest potatoes each season. Our grandparents and great-grandparents picked so many potatoes, you’d think they would never have wanted to see another in their lives, and yet potatoes were a beloved vegetable on their tables. My grandmother Mary Gourneau made delicious “badada salad” with eggs and mayo—you know the one. My father demands kartfel salat, the German version served warm with oil and vinegar. At holidays, Uncle John serves up ten pounds of Yukon Gold and ten pounds of Red River Red from Hughes, an organic farm in North Dakota that supplies most of the Upper Midwest. For these smashed ’taters, you’ll want to use organic potatoes if you’re leaving the skins on, which is what makes them so, so good.
• 6–12 cloves unpeeled garlic
• 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 medium Red River Red potatoes, skins on
• 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
• 1/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
• black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small oven-safe dish or ramekin, place unpeeled garlic in oil.
3. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes. (Check after 30 minutes to make sure the skins are not burning and add oil if necessary.)
4. Remove dish from oven; let garlic cool; remove and discard skins; reserve garlic and oil.
5. Place potatoes in a 3- to 4-quart stockpot, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
6. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
7. Remove from heat, drain, and add butter, half-and-half, garlic and oil.
8. Smash to desired consistency with potato masher.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Want more recipes from Original Local? Try these recipes:
Reprinted with permission from Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, by Heid E. Erdrich, and published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013. Purchase this book from our store: Original Local.