Last week was onions, but this week I’m moving on to potatoes. And there’s a lot to move on to, as Wisconsin ranks third in potato production in the U.S. Wisconsin farmers grow over 2.9 billion pounds of potatoes, according to USDA/NASS charts on the National Potato Council site.
The Wisconsin Potatoes site from the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) says: “no other state offers the range and quality of potatoes that Wisconsin does — Russet, Round White, Round Red, Yellow Flesh, and Blue and Purple potato varieties.”
Why so many potatoes? Comes down to the old idiom of we’re “meat and potatoes” people. According to the USDA, potatoes are sold in 8 different ways: 36% frozen fries, 26% fresh, 15% potato chips and shoestrings, 11% dehydrated, 6% seed, 4% other frozen foods, 2% potato starch and flour and 1% canned.
And, despite the bad rap they’re sometimes given, potatoes have some attractive nutritional offerings, according to the United States Potato Board. One medium-sized potato has just 110 calories and is absolutely fat-, sodium and cholesterol free. Potatoes also are a good source of potassium (more than a banana), Vitamin C, fiber, B6 and iron.
I had kept a potato recipe I found while researching pork a few months back. See how Wisconsin farmers work together? :) The National Pork Board provided me with the recipe below, which I find goes well as a side dish to your main meal or as a yummy, warm appetizer. And with weather like today, it definitely will be a comfort food!
Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Goat Cheese
Recipe with permission from PorkBeInspired.com
Time: 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cook
1/2 pound bacon, sliced
12 small red potatoes, halved
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup goat cheese, plain
4 Tblsp. green onions, sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tblsp. dill, snipped, plus dill for garnish
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning to brown evenly, until crisp. Blot bacon on paper towels, mince and set aside. Now, I realize stopping to fry bacon may slow many busy readers down, so a short-cut is to use real bacon bits. Pick your favorite brand.
Next, brush cut surfaces of potatoes lightly with olive oil. Place potato halves cut side up on a shallow, rimmed baking pan.
Bake until potatoes are tender and faces of potatoes are lightly browned, about 20-30 minutes. If you’re entertaining, you can roast the potatoes before guests arrive and keep warm in the oven — ready for the topping later.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, mash together sour cream and goat cheese. Stir in minced bacon, onion, Parmesan, dill, salt and pepper.
Top each potato with a spoonful, about 2 teaspoons, of the sour cream mixture. Serve warm.
Yum. Believe me, this recipe is definitely comfort food — whether served as an accompaniment to your main dish — or as an appetizer. Enjoy!