Potatoes O'Brien

Monday 22 April 2019

I wanted to make a side dish the other night using potatoes, but of course I couldn't do anything that was baked, and we didn't feel like mashed or boiled. 

 I went through my cookbooks, and decided to pick one from one of my Company's Coming library.  I've been collecting them for years. 

I got my first Company's Coming cookbook back in the 1980's as a gift from my friend Mabel.  It was the Cookies and Squares one.  I about wore it out.  I fell right in love with it.  

They are like community cookbooks, but the recipes work.  They are pretty much a Canadian Institution.  This recipe today was adapted from their Potato Cookbook.

This is Potatoes O'Brien.  Its not a British dish I am afraid.  Its very North American.  I researched the history of it and came up with this. 

"The dish has been claimed to originate in the early 1900s from a Boston restaurant known as Jerome's and from a Manhattan restaurant known as Jack's during the same time period."

This is a pretty basic version, using only salt and pepper as seasoning.  You could also add garlic powder and or paprika.  

I added some paprika. I like the colour it adds to potatoes when you are frying them. 

Basically it is like a potato hash, except it doesn't use already cooked potatoes.  

You peel and dice raw potatoes and add them to some hot fat, along with chopped onion and the seasoning. 

The recipe also called for chopped pimento, or jarred roasted peppers.  I didn't have any of those.  

You can also use chopped red, and/or green peppers in their place, which is what I did. 

Just make sure your fat is nice and hot and you use a non-stick pan. That's what works best when you are pan-frying potatoes.  

If the oil isn't hot enough, they will absorb the oil, and if you use a regular pan, the natural sugars in the potatoes cause them to stick. Non-stick is the way to go.

You can get them as brown as you like.  

I actually browned these for a bit longer than I am showing you, but I was losing the light, and wanted to take some photos, so am showing them to you a bit lighter than what they ended up. 

Its all personal preference really.  Some people like them darker, and some lighter.

These reminded me very much of my first MIL's fried potatoes, except she used to fry hers in salt pork fat.  Oh boy but they were some good.  

I learnt a lot about cooking from her.  She lived to be 100!  She was a farm wife and probably one of the best cooks I ever had the pleasure to know and learn from.

Potatoes O'Brien

Yield: 4
Such a simple and homey dish.  Goes with anything.  Quick easy and delicious!


  • 450g peeled, diced potatoes (2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS cooking oil
  • 57ml jar of chopped roasted peppers (2 ounces) (alternately you can use 75g diced red or green pepper (1/3 cup))


How to cook Potatoes O'Brien

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet.  Add the diced potatoes, onions and seasoning.  (I like to add a sprinkle of paprika as well.) Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until the potato is tender and browned.  Add the chopped roasted peppers and heat through. If you are using fresh peppers, you can add them at the same time as you add everything else.  Such an easy and forgiving dish!
Created using The Recipes Generator

There are only two of us and so we had leftovers.  I divided them into foil packs yesterday, sprinkled them with cheese and then reheated them on our outdoor grill.  Even better.  We had them with BBQ'd Pork Chops and grilled Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese.  So Yummy!

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  1. I loved those books..in a frenzy of streamling I let them go..they had great recipes..tried and true..Thank you for sharing this one:)

    1. I'm afraid that when I go to move back to Canada, I will be having to let go of quite a few things Monique. Hoping to share as much as I can from all my books before then. The cream of the crop, so to speak! You're welcome! xoxo

  2. Oh I know these cookbooks well lol, the potatoes look and sound amazing, first day and left overs! Your mother in-law lived a good age and I doubt she ate a gluten free diet or paleo or keto or any of the other coin phrases used today lol , lessons to be learned!

    1. Nope, just an ordinary diet, and an active lifestyle, as you would have as a farm wife. Putting up all of her own fruits and veg, etc. (They had orchards, sheep, cows, chickens, and a vast vegetable garden) She grew beautiful flowers, and was very crafty. She managed to live in her own home right up to the end. The potatoes are very good! xoxo


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