Pot fried potatoes (slo: pražen/tenstan/renstan/restan krompir) is one of those Slovenian side dishes that went from a Sunday staple to almost forgotten since the introduction of various dietary wisdoms entered the cuisine, especially the one suggesting that high caloric meals based on fats and carbohydrates won’t do much for people’s cholesterol levels.
It was only a matter of time, however, before getting rid of once seen as unhealthy lunches actually brought an even worse feeding habit, the result of a lack of time and therefore cooking, and its replacement with ultra-processed snacks with additives that make them last as long as the plastic wraps they’re sold in.
So old school grandma style meals are slowly coming back again, at least for those of us with childhood memories of how Slovenes once used to eat.
The basic ingredients of pot fried potatoes are a pot of boiled potatoes, onions, lard/oil and salt. The “correct” procedure, however differs from region to region, which is also reflected in the local naming of pot fried potatoes, especially with regard to the central Slovenian term “tenstan krompir” and Styrian “restan krompir”.
That there is a difference in preparation technique becomes apparent if we look into the etymology of both adjectives; “restan” comes from German word rösten (to roast), while “tenstan” must originate in German word dünsten, that is, to stew.
Our recipe today will be based on an old recipe for “tenstan krompir”, that is pot fried potatoes that are much mushier in texture, as a bit of stewing is involved in the preparation process. The whole procedure (that involves a preparation of a traditional potato salad as well) has been captured in a fun video below that also made us reconsider the equipment and design of our kitchen.
beef stew if available
We wash the whole unpeeled potatoes and boil them for about an hour, covered, until they soften up and half of the water disappears. Make sure they don’t burn.
Cool down the potatoes, then peel and slice them as in the video above.
Slice the onion and place it on cold oil in a pan. Heat it up and stir fry onions till soft and yellow. Then push the onions on one side, add the sliced potatoes to the other, move the onions to the top of the potatoes and press down with a spatula. This is how we are making “restan krompir”.
Now since Sunday lunch must also include a beef soup, we pour some of that soup into our “restan krompir”, which will turn it into “tenstan krompir” and after a minute or so, the pot fried potatoes are ready to be eaten.
Serve with any kind of meat, but most probably with beef from the soup. As a child I liked it with some mustard.