This classic PA Dutch Potato Dressing is the perfect side dish to any holiday or Sunday supper! Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to quickly have this be a family favorite for generations to come!
Side Delights® Potatoes sponsored this post through Kitchen PLAY.
Growing up, potatoes were that one vegetable that we always had plenty of. Mom could transform a simple spud into some of the most amazing dishes. Potatoes are truly versatile; from side dishes to main entrees, fried appetizers to even desserts. Mom made it all. They were inexpensive and fed a crowd. Plus let’s face it, they are perfect as-is. Give me a warm baked potato with just a dab of butter and a kiss of salt, and I’ll be happy all day long. Today I’m sharing with you a favorite family recipe shared with me by the Masser™ Potato Farms family. A mixture of potatoes, bread cubes, and a few other ingredients make this one of the BEST side dishes! It’s the epitome of comfort food!
A Potato Farm Tour
I’ve been fortunate here at The Kitchen Whisperer to have worked with my friends from Side Delights® and Sterman Masser™ Potato Farms for a little over a year now. One of my absolute favorite things is when I get to go on farm tours and see where the products that you and I buy/consume grow. You get to see firsthand what it takes to grow potatoes and how to grow the best potato possible continually. You learn about their growing practices to ensure that there is little impact on the environment – how they are sustainable. You learn the science and technology behind growing potatoes, and the team it takes to produce those fantastic potatoes we all know and love.
I’ve “adopted” Masser Potato Farms as my own. I spent the day with them digging up my own potatoes and learning about the science and technology potato farming requires. It truly was an AMAZING experience and one that helped me get a better understanding of what it takes to spend a day in their boots – not shoes; it’s a farm. I have the UTMOST respect for farmers as it’s genuinely a hard, hard job and one that is so critical to all of us. Today I’m sharing with you a delicious recipe from their family Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Dressing, and I also have an excerpt from an interview I did.
Adopt a Farmer – Get to know them!
A few months ago, I interviewed Mr. David Masser, President Sterman Masser, Inc, to talk about the Masser Potato Farm story, and also to educate us consumers on potato farming, more importantly, how they see their purpose in our lives
Lori: How many generations has your family been farming?
David Masser: We just started our 9th generation. Both my son and daughter will be helping this summer.
Lori: How did your family get into the potato farming business?
David: In 1754, my family immigrated from Germany to Berks County, PA. My family was self-sustaining. We grew vegetables (predominately potatoes), fruit trees, and animals. The area of PA they were in is rich in anthracite coal which was home to coal miners. The miners from the various neighboring coal mining towns would buy our potatoes.
Lori: What makes your area so special for growing potatoes? I absolutely love them. They taste like a “true” potato.
David: The farmlands in the rich Pennsylvania Dutch Hegins and Lykens Valleys are abundant with red shale soil. This “red dirt” is mineral-rich, with a mineral smell, and rich in nutrients. This farmland composition contributes to the unique taste and texture. This soil also helps with producing a good starch.
Lori: If I remember from my farm tour with you and your team, there are five stages when it comes to growing a potato, correct?
David: Yes, 5. The first stage is Sprout Development. The eyes of the potato develop sprouts, which emerge from the soil. Next stage is Vegetative Growth. The leaves, stems, and root system form, photosynthesis begins, and the plant prepares to store nutrients in tubers. Then we have Tuber Initiation. Tubers start forming on the end of stolons (underground stems), usually before the plant flowers. After that we have Tuber Bulking. Tubers enlarge. Sugars and starches accumulate. Lastly, we have the Maturation stage. The tubers reach full size. The top of the plant dries out and dies. During maturation, the tuber skin toughens, extending storage life
Lori: I always forget, what’s the difference between a regular potato and a sweet potato, other than taste?
David: A potato is a tuber, and a sweet potato is a root.
Lori: How long does it take for a potato to grow – from seed to harvest?
David: The average is roughly 90 days though it depends on the type of potato. Some could take 100-120 days. Weather plays a HUGE factor in it all.
Lori: I want to touch base on challenges (weather) in a few minutes, but what happens once you harvest a potato? How long do you maintain your potatoes so consumers can have your potatoes all year-round?
David: Our harvest season typically starts when we plant around April 15th up to June 15th. We can harvest the first crop around July then harvest through October 31st or until the first freeze hits. Regardless of the time of the year, once we harvest, our number one concern is to maintain a healthy cell structure. A healthy potato cell structure will ensure that these potatoes will last. We have two processes:
- Direct Farm to Store is where we wash the potatoes and process them for shipping to the stores; OR
- Cold Storage – Here, we store the dirt-dusted potatoes in 200-pound wooden crates in a dry, cold room for two weeks. During this time Suberization” begins. This is where healing occurs to the outside cell structure of the potato as it is preparing itself for long term storage. Then the temperature is turned down to 38-42F, and the humidity is cranked up to 98%. Those potatoes can be stored for up to one full calendar year.
Lori: So, let’s talk about some of the biggest challenges you face as a potato farmer. Living in Pennsylvania, the weather can be pretty harsh and relentless at times.
David: Yes, the weather here can be pretty uncertain. Potatoes are sensitive to weather, to say the least. You really can’t mitigate it; that’s why most potato farms moved to the south and to the west as the climate is more stable. Here though, we’ve found ways to work with the weather. Cultivation methods are a crucial factor for us. We use a one-pass hilling method. That’s where we plant in rows and then build up a dirt wall around the mound. This way you have little standing water and mitigate the potential for flooding.
Lori: Just a few more questions. After years of farming potatoes, do you ever get tired of them? Also, what’s your favorite potato recipe?
David: Honestly, no. Potatoes, as you said, are so versatile that you can use a potato daily in a different way and it never gets old. As for the recipe, the Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling recipe is a family favorite!
Lori: David, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. If I may, one final question: What do you wish most people understood about potato farming?
David: Thank you, Lori, for your time and being our voice; our advocate! I’d have to say two things:
- First, farming is not easy. That we are highly technical and scientific. It’s not as simple as planting a seed, watering it and letting it grow. It takes time, research, development, expensive machinery, scientific minds, and a lot of hard work. Many farmers work 60-70 hours a week year-round.
- Second, the health benefits of potatoes. Potatoes are complex carbs that are used to fuel our body. We need them to think clearly and to have enough energy to make it through strenuous days.
So before speaking with David, I had never heard of this recipe nor tried it. Which, considering how much time I spent in PA Dutch country, you would have thought I had! The recipe itself is rather simple – potatoes, bread cubes, eggs, onions, celery, butter, milk, and basic salt/pepper. Growing up, mom made stuffing – simple bread, eggs, milk, onions, celery, seasoning inside the turkey. While stuffing is awesome, it can be unpredictable. It can be under or overcooked. If it’s undercooked, you risk drying out the turkey meat or worse, getting sick from “raw” stuffing. If it’s overbaked, it’s dry, and pretty much the only thing you can do is douse it with lots of gravy.
I was excited to try this recipe as the thought of having mashed potatoes in the mix intrigued me. You start with peeled and cubed White potatoes though I’m sure Red, Yellow or Golden could work. You can’t go wrong with their Side Delights® potatoes as they are all amazing!
Their recipe has you just cover the potatoes in water. I took the liberty to tweak it, as when I make my mashed potatoes, I boil the potatoes in stock to give it a more decadent taste. So, I used chicken stock this time. But still, I only added enough stock to just cover the potatoes. Next, boil the potatoes until fork tender.
Here’s the twist… do not drain the potatoes! Nope! You actually mash the potatoes in the liquid. Once the potatoes are mashed, you add in the bread cubes, onion, celery, parsley, and melted butter. Next went in the beaten eggs and milk followed by the salt and pepper. That’s it! The mixture is pretty soupy and, per the directions, exactly how it should be! Into a greased casserole dish and let it bake away.
What was new for me was the recipe calls for you to stir it from time to time.
While the potato filling (dressing) was baking, I threw a huge split turkey breast into the Instant Pot and cooked that up to have a “Thanksgiving-style” meal in July. The recipe didn’t call for it, but as a personal preference, the last 10-15 minutes of baking, I took the cover off, gave it a little stir and let the top toast up slightly. One of my FAVORITE parts of stuffing is the edges that get a tad crispy while the inside is soft and moist. This is totally optional, but I love the crispy edges!).
The dish is so simplistic, which is how a potato should be. Potatoes, though we can dress them up a million ways, are delicious on their own with little to no additions. The top had toasted bits while the underneath was so moist and just exploding with flavor! The butter imparted that richness while the potatoes added a creaminess that paired beautifully with the eggs. The onions, celery, and parsley gave it just enough natural flavor that just melted in your mouth with every forkful…FYI… there were many, MANY forkfuls!
For me, the use of stock gave it another level of richness that, even though optional, really rounded out the flavor perfectly. This recipe is so easy and can be paired with so many dishes. Turkey is an obvious go-to, but I’m also thinking as a side dish with pork tenderloin, ham, roasted chicken and even pot roast!
As we were eating this for dinner, Mr. Fantabulous said, “Okay, you need to make this more often! It’s like Thanksgiving but without all of the fuss! That potato filling is so incredible! Definitely a keeper hon!”
He’s right! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you, David, and the Masser family for sharing one of your family favorite recipes!Print
- 2 1/2 pounds Side Delights white potatoes, peel and cubed
- 40 ounces bread cubes (or almost 2 loaves of potato bread, cubed)
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 1/3 cup celery (leaves as well), minced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- ~2 cups of milk (possibly a tad more)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- cold water to cover the potatoes (*or cold stock)
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large pot, add the cubed potatoes and add enough cold water to cover *can use stock in lieu of water. Cook until fork tender. DO NOT DRAIN!
- Mash the potatoes in with the hot liquid. To the pot add in the bread cubes, onion, celery, parsley, and melted butter. Mix until well combined.
- Next, add in the eggs and milk. Stir to combine. Keep stirring as you do not want it to cook/curdle the eggs. Add in the salt and pepper. The mixture should be soupy. If it is not, add more milk til soupy.
- Place in a large buttered casserole or roaster pan. Cover and bake for ~90 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the filling begins to dry out, add more milk or stock.
- *Optional – the last 10-15 minutes of baking, remove the cover and bake just to toast up the tops. Add more liquid if needed.
- The mixture will be done when it’s no longer soup but more like a stuffing/dressing texture.
- Serve immediately.