Pepper Jack Potatoes

My dad is a meat and potatoes person. And as such, you can almost always count on potatoes as part of the dinner meal at our home, most often boiled. Usually I skip them (more for dad) in favor of something green. The other day though, my mother made a cheesy boiled potato dish that I couldn’t stop eating. The star ingredient? Jalapeño pepperjack cheese. Melty, stringy, spicy, peppery cheese. Melt the cheese over russet or Yukon gold boiled potatoes and then douse with a little cream. Fabulous!

The only issue is that with russets especially, it’s pretty easy to overcook the potatoes, making it harder for them to continue to hold their shape while they sit in their own heat waiting for the cheese to melt. The first time I tried these following my mom’s instructions, I took my eye off the pot and sure enough, the potatoes were falling apart. I made the recipe anyway, just mashed all the ingredients together and the potatoes were stunning that way too. Since then I’ve made them with Yukon Golds which hold their shape better and are a little more forgiving on cook time.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

You can use either russets or Yukon gold for this dish. The russets are trickier to keep from overcooking, the Yukons hold their shape easier. If you end up overcooking the potatoes, you can mash them for pepperjack mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 4 ounces pepperjack cheese, thinly sliced and cut into strips (or you can use shredded)
  • 1/2 cup cream

Method

1 Place peeled, cut potatoes into a 2 quart-sized pot. Cover with an inch of cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Cover and bring to a boil. (Keep your eye on the potatoes, it's easy to overcook them.) As soon as the water is boiling, uncover and boil for 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender enough so that you can insert a fork into them. The potatoes should be on the slightly underdone side.

2 Drain the potatoes and put them immediately into a serving bowl. Layer the cheese slices over them and put a plate over the bowl to cover, so that the steam from the potatoes melts the cheese. Let sit for several minutes, then gently fold over with a spoon to spread the melted cheese around. Pour cream over and cover again until served.

If the potatoes are on the over-cooked side and fall apart as you toss them in the cheese, you can add the cream anyway and mash them for spicy, cheesy mashed potatoes. If the potatoes are still not quite cooked enough and the cheese is not quite melted enough, you can put them in a microwave for 20 seconds or so.

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