German traditions — and specifically foods — are a pretty strong part of my family’s story. Even though I had them pretty frequently as a kid, I’d completely forgotten about these German-style fried potatoes until we ate at a Southern Indiana staple—the Log Inn—this summer. The Log Inn is known for a lot of things. It’s the oldest restaurant in Indiana. Abraham Lincoln ate there. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad. But what it’s most known for nowadays? The ridiculously delicious food. Including their off-the-menu, special order German-style fried potatoes. You’d hope a restaurant located in a town called “Haubstadt” would be able to make some good German fries, and man, do they ever. In the motherland, these potatoes are served as a side dish to almost anything, but here in the Johnston household, we like to serve them in place of hashbrowns for Sunday breakfast. A few eggs, a pile of German fries and CBS Sunday Morning? That’s pretty much the happiest Sunday I can think of.
4 pounds unpeeled medium-size red-skinned potatoes
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons malt vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons lard, rendered bacon fat, or olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
6 tablespoons lager beer, divided
2 1/2 cups finely chopped red onions, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions (green parts only)
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender when pierced with sharp knife, about 25 minutes. Drain. Refrigerate potatoes overnight. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes (do not peel). Whisk oil, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend for vinaigrette. Heat 3 tablespoons lard in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Add half of potatoes to each skillet; sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until potatoes begin to brown, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons beer, then 1 1/4 cups red onions to potatoes in each skillet; cook until beer evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until potatoes are brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Pour half of vinaigrette over potatoes in each skillet and toss to coat. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer all potatoes to large bowl. Sprinkle German-style fried potatoes with chives.