German potato fries or Bratkartoffeln are pan fried potatoes with onions, bacon and fresh herbs as garnish. Here is how to make them on the stove top – the oven is not needed.
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Read on for relevant information, tips and step-by-step pictures (2 mins).
Background of This German Fried Potatoes Recipe
Bratkartoffeln are just like cottage potatoes and are wildly popular throughout Germany for all the right reasons. Similarly to German potato pancakes they are an incredibly delicious appetizer and also double as a side to Schweinshaxe, Schnitzel, Braised Lamb Shanks, Brathendl (roast chicken) and many other main dishes.
The name literally means fried potatoes (from braten=to fry and Kartoffeln=potatoes). Needless to say the crispy little numbers make an absolutely perfect partner to German beers – for specific style recommendations see below.
Ingredients for German Potato Fries
Potatoes. The type of potatoes is important– use a waxy variety such as Yukon Gold potatoes, Red Bliss or new or red potatoes for their significantly firmer texture. The texture is key because typically the potatoes are boiled first and then peeled and pan fried until crispy. The boiling step is more of a parboil needed to precook the waxy potatoes until somewhat tender and prevent them from sticking to the pan later on. Starchy potatoes like russet would not undergo this two step cooking process well and fall apart.
Bacon. Good quality bacon (thick cut preferred), lightly smoked.
Onions. A small onion (or two shallots) should be enough.
Cooking oil. To fry the potatoes. For fuller flavor you can add a tablespoon of butter to the oil.
Seasonings. Salt & pepper, fresh or dried herbs, such as flat leaf parsley, thyme, chives or rosemary. You can also add some paprika for color.
TIP: If you choose to skip the boiling step, be sure to cut your potatoes smaller than seen in the pictures (a larger dice would be perfect) and expect to pan fry them longer.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Bratkartoffeln
Here is how to organize your work flow for a seamless experience.
Step 1. Wash the whole potatoes (do not peel them) and put them in a large pot of salted water to boil while you turn your attention to the bacon and onions.
Step 2. Dice or cut the bacon in small strips and thinly slice the onion. In a large skillet or frying pan cook the bacon until crispy and the fat is rendered. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. In the bacon fat cook the sliced onions until they just begin to get crispy. Remove them to another plate and save any bacon grease in the skillet.
Step 3. While you are pan frying the onions the potatoes should be done boiling. Do not let them overcook and become too soft. As soon as they are tender enough when pierced with a fork but still somewhat firm remove them from the heat, pour out the hot water and run cold water over them.
Once they are comfortable to the touch, peel the skins (not mandatory, especially is using red or new potatoes) and cut them in full or semi-circles or any shape thick slices – this is a rustic looking dish. If you want to – dice them. Chris and I have had our fair share of Bratkartoffeln during our travels and have enjoyed them cut in all sorts of ways.
Step 4. Proceed to pan fry potatoes, in two batches, with about a tablespoon of cooking oil per batch. Use medium-high heat. Be sure not to overcrowd the skillet so that you can easily stir the slices and they can become crisp. Once golden brown on one side start to turn them over.
TIP: Instead of working in batches you can save time and use a spillover skillet on an adjacent burner and once all the potatoes are nicely browned combine them in a single skillet.
Step 5. Finally add the bacon and onions, carefully fold them into the fried potatoes, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with fresh herbs for garnish and serve!
How to Serve German Fries
By far the most popular way to dish up German fries is as a self-standing dish, perhaps accompanied by a small side salad. An entree sized portion is perfectly filling and can satisfy the cravings of most people.
Suggested Bratkartoffeln and Beer Pairings
The herbal notes and spicy bite of cold, crisp German pilsners are unmatched when it comes to pairing with Bratkartoffeln. Whether you enjoy them as a side dish or an appetizer the deliciously prepared potato slices
Chris and I often enjoy this dish with Dunkel lager – we prefer the Franconian style for its notable dryness and the fact that it tastes a bit sweet. Other well suited dark styles are Schwarzbier, Altbier and in winter – bocks.
When in season consider Oktoberfest lagers. Both the modern, lighter ones and the more traditional, deeper colored and boozier versions.
A very interesting pairing results with Rauchbier – its intense smokiness is so well received by the potatoes and the smoked bacon bits that even those normally opposed to the style could find the combination delightful.
- 2 lbs firm (waxy) potatoes such as Gold, Red Bliss or new potatoes
- 1 small onion (or 2 shallots)
- 6 strips thick cut bacon
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste, to season potatoes*
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herb (flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary)
- Clean the potatoes and boil them skins on in salted water until they soften but retain some of their firmness.
- While the potatoes are boiling cut the bacon in thin strips (or dice it) and thinly slice the onions. In a skillet over medium heat cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and drain over paper towel. In the rendered fat also over medium heat cook the onions until they begin to get crispy, then remove from the skillet and set aside.
- While the bacon & onions are cooking check on the boiling potatoes.** When you can pierce them with a fork but they still have a bit of firmness to them pour out the hot water and run cold water over them.
- As soon as the potatoes have cooled off enough to be comfortable to touch peel the skins (optional) and cut them into circles, semi-circles or dice them - your choice.
- Pan fry the cut potatoes in two batches in the same skillet where you cooked the bacon and onions. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil per batch.*** Do not overcrowd the skillet so the potatoes can brown nicely. Once crispy on one side, flip them to brown them on the other until you are satisfied.
- Add the bacon, onions and your choice of finely chopped fresh herb to the crispy potatoes and mix them together. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
*Paprika is also traditionally used to season Bratkartoffeln so if you like it, include it with the salt and pepper.
**Smaller sized potatoes will soften faster than larger ones so keep an eye on them to make sure you do not overcook them and let them get too soft.
***To speed things up you may want to use a second skillet and pan fry the two batches of potatoes simultaneously.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 438Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 409mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 14g