The first time one of my husband’s best high school friends came to visit from overseas, my husband said, “We have to go get some Potato Chop. They’re his favorite.” It’s the perfect thing for me to make because I like to play with my food. It’s also a favorite to eat because you can hold it in your hand.
A potato chop is basically a handheld shepherd’s pie. It’s about the size of your average homemade oatmeal cookie. There’s ground meat and spices on the inside and mashed potatoes on the outside, with a crispy crust. They’re not difficult to make, but they can be time consuming, so make a big batch. They freeze and reheat well. Give me a plate of these and some HP sauce and I’m good to go.
1 lb. ground beef or bison
1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
1 minced garlic clove or a pinch of garlic powder
3 T. chopped parsley or parsley flakes
2 T. your favorite spice mix (I like Penzey’s Turkish Spice Blend)
3-4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2-3 T. cornstarch
flour or breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
your favorite stock (chicken, beef, or veggie…dealer’s choice)
Put the diced potatoes in a pot and fill the pot with stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are very tender. Drain, the potatoes, mash them with salt and pepper to taste, then thoroughly mix in the cornstarch. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, brown the onions in a few tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil. Add and brown the ground beef, spice blend, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly before assembly.
To assemble the potato chop, oil your hands, then take a golf ball sized bit of mashed potatoes and place it in the center of your palm. Cup your hand and spread out the potatoes until you have a disk that’s a little thinner in the middle than on the edges.
Add about a teaspoon to half tablespoon of meat to the center of the potato disk, then gently shape the edges around the meat to fully enclose it in the mashed potato mixture. Flatten this slightly into a cookie shape and put on an oiled cookie sheet. Once you’ve assembled a full sheet of these, refrigerate them for about 30 minutes so they cool and firm up before you fry them.
After they’ve rested for 30 minutes in the fridge, heat a pot of oil or get out your deep fryer and make a breading station with one bowl of egg wash (one egg mixed with a little water) and one bowl of either flour or breadcrumbs. Dip the individual chops into the egg mixture, then into the flour/breadcrumbs; shake off the excess, and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a rack or paper towel and eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle with a side of HP sauce for dipping.
These freeze well so store the leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer. If you want them to stay crispy, reheat them for about 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you don’t care about crispy and can’t wait, 60 seconds in the microwave ought to do it.
Variations: You can make these taste more like shepherd’s pie by adding some tomato paste and some peas to the meat mixture. I’ve also tried adding a morsel of cheddar to make these more like inside out cheeseburgers.