This recipe for potatoes O'Brien is a wonderful way to use leftover boiled or baked potatoes. In fact, it's worth cooking a few extra potatoes just to have the leftovers so you can make this iconic comfort food.
This variation on a traditional recipe for potatoes O'Brien is called O'Brien au Gratin Potatoes and is found in a slim cookbook called "Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery." It wasn't that Mrs. Rasmussen had only one arm, it's that one arm was already dedicated to holding a beer while she cooked.
- 2 tablespoons oil (or bacon grease)
- 1/2 small bell pepper (green, coarsely chopped, about 1/2 cup)
- 2 medium potatoes (leftover boiled, or 1 large leftover baked potato; cut into 1/2" cubes)
- 4 green onions (cut into 1/2" lengths, about 2/3 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic (finely chopped)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup Parmesan, Asiago, Romano or cheddar cheese, shredded
- Heat the oil or bacon grease in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Stir in the potatoes, green onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Spread the potato mixture evenly in the skillet and sprinkle with the cheese. If you use cheddar cheese use a non-stick skillet.
- Cover the pan and cook 5 to 7 minutes longer, or until the bottom side of the potatoes is browned.
Nutritional Information for Homemade Potatoes O'Brien
It is difficult to know the fully accurate nutritional information about homemade dishes like potatoes O'Brien because recipes vary greatly. As a general rule of thumb, a generous three-fourths cup of homemade potatoes O'Brien contains about 160 calories and about 30 grams of carbohydrate. It is a good source of vitamins C, A and B6. But recipes like this one, for instance, contain cheese, which many do not, and thus general information about calories and fat needs to be adjusted higher to account for the cheese. So realistically, you have to say "who cares, it's delicious" if this dish is on the menu.
Potatoes and the Irish
Potatoes are a great source of nutrition. The Irish depended on potatoes in the 19th century for a significant amount of their diet for this very reason, and it is why the potato famine of Ireland from 1845 to 1852 was so devastating to the Irish. The famine was a serious motivation for Irish immigration to the United States in that period.
One potato contains about 110 calories and packs a punch, with lots of potassium, vitamins C and B6 and iron. It contains no fat, cholesterol or sodium.