How to braise beer potatoes with olive oil, butter, garlic and fresh herbs.
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- Read on for relevant details and step by step pictures (2 mins)
About This Beer Potatoes Recipe
This is my go-to way to cook potatoes, whether I use beer or not. It is simple, takes little time to execute and the results are always tasty.
It works with all kinds of potatoes (see ingredient notes below) and the addition of a well chosen brew inevitably yields a culinary success. So many times dinner guests have asked me how I made the potatoes so flavorful. Even Chris did – the first time I made him beer potatoes like these.
The cooking method is more or less braising, mainly a brief simmering at a temperature higher than typical for braising, all of that in one pot, on the stove. I learned this recipe from my mother, she learned it from my grandma.
The spuds turn out perfectly soft and are permeated by flavor. The beer taste is a subtle, mysterious one – married to the contribution of the butter, garlic and herbs. Do not expect the potatoes to taste like beer (that is not the point at all) – they will just taste richer.
The line up is simple, yet all the components partner to develop a harmonious flavor profile around the potatoes. You can vary, increase and decrease the quantities of each ingredient to taste.
Equipment wise the best way to make these beer potatoes is to use a Dutch oven or a similar heavy bottomed pot with a lid.
- Butter and Olive Oil. While you can use only one or the other, the combination lends more flavor.
- Potatoes. Different potatoes will yield slightly different results. Starchier and all-purpose varieties such as the Yukon golds I used this time around and many will thicken the cooking liquid a bit and also absorb more moisture – therefore I used more water, beer and olive oil/butter. Waxier varieties such as red potatoes, fingerlings, new potatoes etc, are perfect to cook with their skins on. For them you also want to use a bit less of the liquid ingredients. The same texture rules apply to sweet potatoes.
- Garlic. Minced or cut into small slivers, you have to have it.
- Herbs. You can use fresh or dried herbs, fresh ones always yield better results. Reserve a few sprigs of whatever herb you chose for garnish. Dill weed, oregano, rosemary, garlic chives, thyme (used for this post) are all complementary options.
- Seasonings. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Beer. The best suited beer styles for this recipe are balanced or leaning to the sweeter side. Noble hops with herbal, floral or earthy notes work best. I prefer German lagers like Helles and Maibock, or Czech pilsners or American craft lagers. Saisons and Belgian golden ales work great too.
Process – How to Braise Potatoes with Beer
The workflow could not get any simpler.
Once you prepare all the ingredients – clean, peel and cut (if needed) the potatoes, mince the garlic and chop the herbs, the rest is easy.
TIP: Make sure your cut potatoes are sized uniformly so that they can cook evenly.
- Step 1. Heat the butter and olive oil and add the potatoes, stir around to coat them nicely. If cooking small, skin on variety you can leave them just long enough for the skins to blister a bit.
- Step 2. Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, then some water and a bit more beer than the water. Stir to mix well, cover and let cook. The potatoes will simmer away, braising in their bath of flavors and the moist heat will help cook them evenly and pretty fast.
- Step 3. After a short while check for softness and to determine if the liquids have been absorbed to your liking or not. If too much liquid still remains you can continue cooking without the lid on until the texture reaches your desire doneness. If the opposite is true you can always add a bit more water and/or beer.
- Step 4. Remove from the heat, add a bit more butter and herbs to garnish, perhaps an extra pinch of salt and pepper and serve.
TIP: If you prefer saucy beer potatoes (see process pictures and finished picture below), definitely be a bit more generous with the olive oil and butter in the beginning as well as the liquids.
How to Change Things Up
The best approach is to vary the variety of potato and herbs while sticking with the beer styles recommended above. For example, spring potatoes go very well with parsley or dill.
Rosemary works great with sweet potatoes like Hannah (picture below) or small purple potatoes such as the ones above I’d made to accompany baked lamb chops. Additionally, since they are quite waxy (low in starch and high in moisture) I first let them blister up for a couple of minutes in the olive oil and butter and then added the garlic, rosemary, beer and water. Waxier varieties take a bit longer to cook and I typically use less of both liquids and keep them covered until done. More of a classic braising approach.
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- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter plus extra to let melt over finished potatoes (optional)
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled or scrubbed, cut in bite size pieces if needed*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- chopped fresh herbs to taste (about 1 tbsp unless rosemary, use a bit less) plus a bit more for garnish
- 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup water (to start, more if needed)
- 3/4 cup beer (not bitter or well balanced such as Czech pilsner)
1. In a Dutch oven or similar pot over medium-high heat melt the butter along with the olive oil. Add the potatoes and stir well to coat.**
2. Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, water and beer. Stir well to combine. Cover with lid and let cook for 10-12 minutes.
3. Check the potatoes to determine how soft they have become (pierce with a fork) and how much longer you'd need to cook them to your desired degree of softness. If liquids are running low (could be with starchier varieties) add a bit more water & beer. If too much liquid still remains cook uncovered until done.
4. Remove the beer potatoes from the heat, add a bit of butter to melt on top (optional), season with more salt and pepper if needed and garnish with the remaining fresh herbs.
*For thin skinned potatoes such as fingerlings, red etc. peeling is optional, just be sure to scrub them well. Smaller potatoes do not need to be cut in cubes.
**If using skin on potatoes you can leave them for a couple of minutes to blister the skins before you proceed with the next steps.
For saucier beer potatoes increase the level of liquid from the beginning, both water and beer (this approach works better with starchier varieties such as Yukon gold).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 841mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g