The Surprising Secret to Authentic Greek Lemon Potatoes
With a lemoniness that walks the line of almost being too tart without actually being so, creating authentic Greek lemon potatoes became an obsession of mine when I first moved to the Greek haven of Astoria, Queens. I marinated, roasted, and boiled the potatoes in a hefty amount of lemon juice, never happy with the subpar results. So when I started working on my cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport, I knew I had to delve into the secret of the lemon potatoes.
In talking to a few Greek restaurants, one common denominator became apparent: all the Greek restaurants agreed that chicken concentrate (vegetarian or not) is a must in the dish as the potatoes roast. (Note that a little bit of chicken stock can also sub for the chicken concentrate.)
One of my recipe testers then mentioned that she always added chicken concentrate to her veggie dishes because it tasted as if she had slaved over the recipe versus just whipped it all up in a mad dash after work.
Now I add a drop of chicken concentrate (I like Trader Joe’s version the best) into all my vegetable dishes. Just a few drops of it, in something as simple as a pot of simmering lima beans, makes a difference. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but it adds a touch of saltiness and dimension that is otherwise not there.
Try This Tip in a Recipe
Greek lemon potato recipes are easy to find — here are two:
- Greek-Style Lemon Roasted Potatoes at AllRecipes
- Ellinikos Lemoni Patatas (Greek Lemon Potatoes) at Greek Food.com
Do you have a great recipe for these — from your family, perhaps?
Cooking Secrets from Immigrant Kitchens
While working on my latest cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport, I chatted with cooks and chefs from diverse ethnic backgrounds (Himalayan, Cuban, Cypriot, Szechuan, and more). As I learned how to replicate their dishes in my own kitchen, I amassed a slew of tips from them that I began using in my everyday cooking life.