When people think about Greek food, they tend to think about the big ones…the pastitsio, moussaka and spanakopita, foods that Greeks and non-Greeks often consider to be the quintessential staples of our cuisine. These foods are revered, and the fact that many (erroneously) believe that they are next to impossible to prepare probably adds to their appeal. But we think that there is another Greek food which should be added to the list of favourites, and that is roasted lemon potatoes.
Ask anyone who has ever had good Greek food, and they will tell you about the potatoes. They’ll wonder what makes them so delicious, why they are so addictive, and more importantly, how they can make them at home. Read on, we have the answers to all these questions, and more. The good news is, making these potatoes is as easy as falling in love with them.
We know that many recipes get pretty specific about the type of potatoes to use. There are so many varieties out there and some seem to be best suited for mashing, others for frying, and others for baking. All we know is that for our parents, the best potatoes to use are the ones which are on sale. Truly. They tend to stick to yellow fleshed or red-skinned potatoes, but not exclusively. And, their potatoes turn out perfectly ever time, whether they are making them solo as we are describing here, or as part of their roasted chicken and potato meal.
When our parents roast potatoes they almost always add a couple of carrots to the roasting pan. We don’t think that the carrots add anything to the flavor of the potatoes, but they are delicious when they are slow-roasted this way. The bit of orange colour also makes any photos you take of your meal that much prettier. Speaking of which, if you do make this recipe (you should), take a photo and send it to us! 🙂
This recipe calls for a total of 2 cups oil (that’s 500 ml) !!! That’s A LOT of oil! Don’t balk at the amount however. You will see that when the potatoes are done, and you remove them from the roasting pan, there is still plenty of oil left in there (so the potatoes don’t soak it all up). In the spirit of waste nothing, our parents drain this oil and keep it in the refrigerator to be re-used the next time they make roasted potatoes, or another meal which calls for oil.
You will also notice that along with requiring a lot of oil, this recipe needs A LOT of time! Not active time mind you, but roasting time. We have seen recipes that say you must roast your potatoes for about 30 minutes. We will assume that those potatoes are cut into really, really, really small wedges. In our recipe which follows, the potatoes will roast for a total of about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Don’t rush them. Every minute helps transform the lowly root vegetable into a spud delicacy. Trust
us our folks.
The seasoning added to these potatoes is simple; salt, pepper, oregano and paprika. Now, here’s a funny thing about the paprika; the brand you use, actually makes a difference. We typically use the paprika found at Costco, but one day, one of us used a no name brand of paprika she found at the grocery store…and this was a mistake. The paprika did not “dissolve”; instead paprika particles were seen in the oil after the potatoes were cooked and it turned the potatoes VERY dark, like almost black. Lesson learned. Don’t skimp on the paprika.
We love to have these potatoes be the star of the meal; accompanied by some cheese and olives, and some fresh bread, this is a perfect vegetarian lunch or light dinner. But, if you want something more substantial, consider serving these potatoes with pork tenderloin or some roasted chicken thighs. Both, excellent choices, although you may find that the potatoes will remain the stars. 🙂
Mia Kouppa: Roasted lemon potatoes
- 10-12 medium to large sized potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground black pepper
- 3/4 to 1 cup (250 ml) olive oil
- 3/4 to 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) paprika (we usually use Costco brand)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Note: if using 10 potatoes, 3/4 cup of each olive oil and vegetable oil is fine. If using 14 potatoes, it’s best to use 1 cup of each oil.
- Mix all of the ingredients, except for the paprika, together in a large roasting pan. We use a 15-inch round roasting pan.
- Place in the bottom rack of your oven and bake, uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the paprika on the potatoes and carrots. Mix well. Return to oven.
- Bake for an additional 30 minutes, remove from oven, and stir the vegetables carefully. Return to oven.
- Bake for a final 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat. Transfer to a serving platter carefully (you don’t want to break apart the potatoes) using a slotted spatula to help drain off any excess oil.
- If this was the first time you used this oil you can drain it and reserve it in the refrigerator, to be used for future potato roasting, or in other dishes. Enjoy.