Potatoes O’Brien is a classic side dish for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. This healthier version, made with sweet potatoes, takes the flavors up a notch!
It wasn’t that long ago that I was in culinary school. One of the first classes I took was a knife skills class. I had a teacher named Hollie, who I believe occasionally still reads my blog. (Hi Hollie!) She is a petite woman who can make herself heard from at least a mile away. She has a good command of her students and kitchen, and I have a healthy respect for her and what she teaches.
She always had a smile for you but could switch gears and “crack the whip” in the blink of an eye. Something a chef definitely needs to maintain command of a kitchen. And definitely something I appreciate in a teacher as well as a person. I’m somewhat of an alpha female myself, so I always appreciate and respect my fellow alphas.
Unfortunately, I eventually had to drop out of culinary school to take care of my mom. And since I no longer live in Sonoma County, I can’t go back to the school I loved so much. Nothing here in the East Bay really compares, even if the programs here are well-known for being good programs. I’ve thought about going back, but I would have to start from scratch because the credits I have won’t transfer to any of the programs here. So it’s a little disheartening. But with Mini Chef possibly going back to school next year (I’ve been homeschooling him this year), it’s actually a possibility. So we’ll see. But I digress…
In this knife skills class, I learned many different cuts for produce. And while I’ve long since forgotten the names for each cut (sorry, Hollie!!) I haven’t forgotten the cuts themselves.
Cutting Potatoes for Potatoes O’Brien
I will never forget how hard I worked to get the perfect cut for Potatoes O Brien. Most of the other cuts I did pretty well with. Even the more complicated ones. But this one, for some reason, I just could not get perfect in any way, shape, or form. I still try every time I make this, but I don’t make it often enough to make any real progress in that department. So, I’m hoping my imperfect cuts will be overlooked by the masses and that my teacher will forgive me if she sees this terrible cut.
The cut for this sort of thing is a ½ inch square that is a ¼ inch thick. Not an easy cut to master. At least not for me. I know some folks prefer to have the potatoes in ½-inch cubes, but with sweet potatoes, I find that they don’t cook fast enough if they are cubed. Hence, the ¼ inch thickness here. (And I didn’t even achieve that very well!)
If you are not a culinary student, professional chef, or cook, it probably won’t matter much to you anyway. But a uniform cut really helps this cook evenly. Part of cooking is making sure you have the timing down on how long it takes each ingredient to cook. So if you get your potatoes too thick, you’re peppers and onions will be done long before the potatoes are. You’ll end up with either undercooked potatoes or overcooked peppers and onions. So thickness matters for this Clean Eating Sweet Potatoes O’Brien recipe.
I have to say that the sweet potatoes do add a slightly different flavor to this classic favorite. But it’s delicious just the same and possibly even a little bit better, in my humble opinion.
More Sweet Potato Recipes
Sweet Potatoes O’Brien Recipe Card
Sweet Potatoes O’ Brien
- 2¼ cup cut sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into O’ Brien squares)
- 1 cup cut green bell pepper
- 1 cup cut red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tbsp. oil
- vegetable broth (as needed for cooking – no sugar added)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- salt and pepper to taste after cooking
- Cut your sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic and place them with the oil in a large skillet that has a lid.
- Begin to cook, stirring frequently. When the oil is nearly run out, add vegetable broth as needed to continue cooking.
- Whenever you are not stirring, cover the pan with the lid to allow the steam to cook the potatoes faster. Just keep an eye on this so that nothing gets burned.
- When the potatoes are cooked, toss in the parsley, give it a stir until it’s just wilted and remove the entire skillet from heat.
- Add salt and pepper as needed and serve.