Fixing Taters

The best way to remedy a dish you’ve oversalted is by putting a potato into the pot; it absorbs the extra salinity.

But what if you’re cooking potatoes?

You’re probably gonna need a different plan.

A week or so ago, I bought a bag of baby potatoes.  From what I could see, they looked like fingerlings.  I would cut them in half length-wise, roast, and serve with super bright and puckery lemon mayo.

Before I cooked them, I took a Denver steak, and some of the spuds to my still self-isolating Kid.  My child later told me that they were too small to roast like I was thinking, so they were stewed instead.

The Matthews family band loves old school Southern stewed potatoes.  But I’ve never made the classic type.  I use a method that evolved from a potato recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

The Food Network chef has a recipe for herbed new potatoes.  The procedure is similar, but the end result is crispy and if you’re not hyper-vigilant, it can stick to the bottom, then fall apart when serving.

Our procedure produces a creamy spud that more closely resembles a Southern stewed potato, only there’s no need to peel and cut them up before cooking.


I called The Kid after dinner and asked how dinner was.  Unfortunately, the spuds were over salted.

I couldn’t help myself.

“You know how to fix over-salted food, don’t you?”

In an eminently weary voice that left no doubt of The Kid’s thoughts about having a hilarious mother, my child replied, “Yeah, you throw in a potato.”

I swear, I am a walking punchline…wait…I’m a really funny mom, that’s it.

After pausing so my child could finish busting a gut and appreciating the comic genius that is Mom, I said, “…or, you could have added lemon.”  The Kid and I are lemon fiends.  If it doesn’t take our breath away and bring a tear to our eyes, it needs more.

Lemon juice is very acidic.  Which means it needs lots of salt.  If lemon juice is in a recipe, you have to up the salt to compete with the lemon.  If The Kid had added lemon juice to the spuds, it would have probably balanced the salt.

When I made the potatoes for Petey and me, I decided to try the lemon in them.  I had to go easy because my husband isn’t the fan The Kid and I are.

But he’s a very lucky man.  Because in addition to all the delicious eats I create, he lives with a woman who every utterance is pure comedy gold.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at      

Sorta Stewed Lemony Potatoes

3 pounds red or yellow new potatoes

½ cup water

2 heaping teaspoons chicken base, like Better Than Bouillon

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon dry thyme

½ teaspoon mustard powder

Salt & pepper

Juice from half a lemon

¼ cup garlic chives, sliced thinly


¼ cup finely chopped herbs of your choice

Wash potatoes and cut in half any very large ones.  In large heavy pot with a lid, stir together the first six ingredients.  Give it a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Cover and cook at medium medium-low until the potatoes are tender, but before the liquid has all cooked out (12-18 minutes).

Take off lid and cook until the pan is dry and there are browned bits on the bottom of the pot.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Stir in until a saucy glaze has formed and the brown bits are off the bottom and in the sauce.

Stir in herbs and serve.  4 servings.

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