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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Red Russian Potato Pancakes

By Evan Duxbury
I volunteered with the Green Zebra crew this past weekend to help bring some of the best local, organic produce to the people of the Downtown East Side. I was blown away by the selection we had on offer, in particular these Red Russian potatoes from God’s Little Acre Farm in Surrey.
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Despite their dark, matte exterior, these potatoes are violently violet on the inside and could add some excitement to your grandmother’s traditional potato dishes.
I was told they could be treated like any potato, so I decided to try mashing them and frying them to see how the texture would turn out and to see if the color would stick around. Poof. A fairly straightforward journey down boiler road led to a purple vortex of flavor and texture.
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Waxy potatoes don’t have a lot of starch, so when mashed, they don’t absorb dairy very well and you get a gluey, watery result. The Red Russians seem to be a very versatile potato as they came out light and creamy without packing as much starch as a typical russet. These potatoes held up very well texture wise and you can see that the color seems to be sticking around.

Mashing alone seemed too simple, so I mixed in some flour, cheese (I’d recommend a spicy cheddar), egg and garlic then fried the mixture, yielding these potato cakes (recipe here).
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In this second phase, you can see that the purple is harder to distinguish against the browned crust of the cakes. Delicious though! I served them with a slice of bacon, some sauteed kale and some yellow zucchini (also from God’s Little Acre)
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Conclusion
 These were nice potatoes to work with and yielded a great mashed texture. Since the purple hue of these taters were their defining quality, I’d recommend steaming or baking as these cooking methods tend to keep more color in potatoes.
I wasn’t able to find any nutrition information for the Red Russians in particular, but purple potatoes in general appear to stack up like this:
The values are approximations but they provide a rough idea about the purple potato nutrition. (source)

1 medium size potato (213 g)

Purple

White

Carbohydrates (g)

42.7

33.5

Protein (g)

4.85

3.58

Fiber (g)

2.85

5.1

Calories

200

147

Fat (g)

0

0


That purple potatoes appear to have more carbohydrates and less fiber than white potatoes is disappointing. However, the increased protein is a bonus, and they may even help prevent colon cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Evan, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on purple (Red Russian, in this case) potatoes. The U.S. Potato Board's website provides a lot of information on various potato types. You can find the information here: http://www.potatogoodness.com/all-about-potatoes/potato-types/

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