The texture this old-school method provides for russet potatoes is unlike anything you get by just roasting: so dense, moist, and rich. The way the crusty, crunchy edges outside contrast with the uniquely rich and creamy inside is truly a magical thing.

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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

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  • Cut off ends of russet potatoes, stand potatoes on end, and peel potatoes from top to bottom with a sharp knife to make each potato into a uniform cylinder. Cut each cylinder in half crosswise to make 6 potato cylinders about 2 inches long.

  • Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to remove starch from outsides; pat dry with paper towels.

  • Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (such as a cast iron skillet) over high heat. Pour in vegetable oil; heat oil until it shimmers slightly.

  • Place potato cylinders with best-looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium-high, and pan-fry potatoes until well-browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

  • Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends. As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from the skillet. Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.

  • Pick up a thyme sprig with tongs and use it to paint butter over the top of the potatoes. Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color. Season with more salt and pepper. Pour chicken stock into skillet.

  • Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside, about 30 minutes. If potatoes aren't tender, add 1/4 cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.

  • Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

238.5 calories; protein 4.1g 8% DV; carbohydrates 33.5g 11% DV; fat 10.5g 16% DV; cholesterol 15.8mg 5% DV; sodium 173mg 7% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (204)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/17/2013
The first time i made i did exactly what the recipe said. The next time i used Rosemary (which i prefer) instead of thyme. Tonight I toned down the salt and used some garlic salt instead, Ohh it was soooo good. I defiantly recommend these Read More
(67)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/23/2014
I fear it may have been user-error, but when I made these they turned out good, but certainly not great considering the amount of work and clean-up. I went back over the instructions and believe that I did all that was required, so I'm not sure where I went wrong. Read More
(11)
247 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 187
  • 4 star values: 41
  • 3 star values: 16
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
07/16/2013
The first time i made i did exactly what the recipe said. The next time i used Rosemary (which i prefer) instead of thyme. Tonight I toned down the salt and used some garlic salt instead, Ohh it was soooo good. I defiantly recommend these Read More
(67)
Rating: 4 stars
11/08/2013
Great potato, I do them sliced half inch thick, no oil. they cook quicker, and no oven needed. I start them off in butter medium heat careful not to burn the butter, once browned on the bottom I flip them over and ad chicken stock, very slowly, or it can flare up, finish cooking till the other side is browned. quick, easy , yum I been cooking these for 3 years now. Read More
(45)
Rating: 5 stars
08/10/2013
Had to substitute basil for thyme in this outstanding recipe. The contrasting textures had my friends "Mmmmmmm"-ing throughout dinner. This is a new staple in my dinner party recipe box. Read More
(29)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/24/2013
Ha Cha Cha! These are great! The best potatoes I have made. Creamy with the flavor of the stock, amazing. I did not have russet potatoes so I used red potatoes making sure of the size for correct baking. I used olive oil and 1Tsp. dried thyme. Great flavor, I would love to try them with rosemary too. Can't wait to make them again! Read More
(19)
Rating: 4 stars
10/27/2013
I must say, try to watch the video before making these. It makes the instructions so much easier. I read some reviews before attempting to make these. I combined spice suggestions and used thyme, rosemary & tarragon (I only had dried spices available, but am sure that using fresh would throw this over the top). The texture of the potatoes was crispy, creamy & yummy. I didn't think these were too time consuming, considering the professional result. Served as a side dish to BBQ NY Strip (also on this site). Can't wait to make these again with fresh herbs!! Thanks Chef, for an awesome recipe. Read More
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
12/26/2014
I love all of Chef John's recipes, and fondant potatoes is no exception! While a bit decadent in terms of fat content, these potatoes make a unique and luxurious side dish for a special meal. I served them alongside grilled king salmon for Christmas dinner, and it was a surprisingly great combination. I followed the recipe to the letter, and the one thing I will say is that mine needed closer to an hour in the oven (and I used about a cup of chicken stock total) for the insides to be cooked through and nice and creamy. I ended up having to stick them back in after removing them at 40 minutes, when my daughter tasted one and commented that it wasn't done yet. So be careful to make sure they are cooked through before serving them. I will say that the presentation on the platter with the flourish of thyme sprigs was quite striking! Great recipe, and fun to try to something new. Read More
(13)
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Rating: 5 stars
06/27/2015
I didn't have thyme, fresh or not, so I used rosemary. They were divine. I piped sour cream on top and then crumbled bacon over them with a sprinkle of parsley and my husband and I both ate 4 pieces... I would serve these during a special occasion or holiday anytime. I think they were the best, new potato dish I've had in a very long time. Joined all recipes just to say that. Yum ... I should probably add I browned the potatoes in the fat rendered from the bacon... Oh, my, they were good. Read More
(12)
Rating: 3 stars
03/23/2014
I fear it may have been user-error, but when I made these they turned out good, but certainly not great considering the amount of work and clean-up. I went back over the instructions and believe that I did all that was required, so I'm not sure where I went wrong. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
10/24/2013
Oh my I tried these potatoes last week for a dinner with family and they were fabulous!I did not have either fresh rosemary or thyme so I used chives from the garden and used some thyme in the jar for seasoning. They were so good and the presentation was wonderful. Future staple at dinner parties for me--thank you! Read More
(8)