Chad Lardie may own a steakhouse, but he’s quick to proclaim that potatoes are one of his favorite foods – and not just as a side dish to steak. “I eat them a lot as a meal by themselves,” the owner of Embers Steak House says. “Different dipping sauces, cheeses … you can do them so many different ways.”
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we asked Lardie to share a few of his favorite potato recipes with us. The first is a simple roasted-potato-and-onion dish that uses cooking spray to minimize the fat content. He seasons these with salt, pepper and garlic powder, but recommends variety. “You can change it up every time you make it,” he says. “I’ve done them with Italian seasoning or I’ve made them spicier.”
He says his bacon-and-blue-cheese scalloped potatoes are hardy, rich, and the perfect side for red meats. “Blue cheese and potatoes are great together, and everybody loves bacon,” Lardie says. The incredible recipe for colcannon – a traditional Irish dish of potatoes, cabbage and onions – appears on the Embers menu only once a year, on St. Patrick’s Day. “We serve it with wild boar sausage and Shiner Bock gravy,” he says.
Colcannon 3 pounds russet potatoes 1 stick butter 1 ¼ cups warm cream Fresh ground black pepper 1 head cabbage, chopped into small pieces 1 large white onion, chopped 1 large can chicken broth 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Place into pot and cover with water. Boil potatoes until soft. Place cabbage, onions, garlic and chicken stock in separate pot and cook until cabbage is soft; strain off all liquid and place into large bowl. Set aside. When potatoes are soft, drain off water and place in large mixing bowl. Add butter, salt, pepper and cream; mix until smooth. Place mashed potatoes in bowl with cabbage mixture; stir together. Serve with your choice of gravy. This is a great side dish for your favorite grilled sausage or meat.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Roasted Potatoes and Onions 2 large russet potatoes, cut in to ¼-inch circles 1 large onion, cut into ½-inch rings Salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup fresh dill (or herb of your choice)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. On large cookie sheet, spray bottom of pan with cooking spray and place potatoes and onions on sheet. Spray top of potatoes and onions with spray, and then season with salt and pepper or another favorite seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes, and then flip and cook for another 15 minutes. Place on serving plate and top with fresh dill. These are good accompanied with cheese, ranch, ketchup, or any other sauce. This dish is great because it is very easy, and you can change it a variety of ways. I prefer to use cooking spray instead of oil or butter because it has no fat or calories.
Makes 4 to 5 servings
Scalloped Blue Cheese Potatoes 2 large russet potatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices 1 quart heavy cream ½ cup crumbled goat cheese 1 cup blue cheese crumbles 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 stick butter ¼ cup green onions, chopped ¼ cup bacon, chopped 1 tablespoon garlic
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes and butter in baking pan and cover with foil. Cook in oven for 30 minutes. While potatoes are baking, place cheeses, heavy cream, pepper, and garlic in pan on medium heat. Stir often to make sure cheese does not burn. Cook until cheese has melted completely. Remove potatoes from oven and top with cream mixture. Cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Top with bacon and green onions and serve.
Makes 4 servings
Meet the Cook: Chad Lardie, of Embers Steak House
After graduating from Texas Tech’s hotel, restaurant, and institutional management program, Chad Lardie worked for more than a decade managing Johnny Carino’s restaurants. When local favorite David’s Steakhouse closed its doors in 2010 – opening up a well-known location in the Wolflin area – Lardie jumped at the opportunity to create a restaurant of his own. He introduced Embers Steak House in early 2011, and delicious steaks, seafood and burgers have been sizzling on its charcoal and hickory-wood grill ever since.
“We’ve created a really great base of regular customers and are always bringing new customers in,” he says. “Because it started as a known location, some people may have confused us with David’s at the beginning. They saw we were doing something a little bit different, but familiar enough that they really enjoyed it.”
Lardie says a focus on high-quality ingredients and unique cuts of meat is what sets Embers apart. He describes his restaurant as more closely aligned with a New York or Chicago-style steakhouse than a traditional southern one, which might serve chicken-fried steak or ribs alongside rib-eyes. “All of our steaks are hand-cut, and we offer a variety of steaks that people may not always see,” he says, including several dishes using lean, flavorful buffalo.
Where there’s meat, there must also be potatoes, and Lardie is as appreciative of the potato as he is a hearty steak. “Very few people don’t like potatoes,” he says. “There are just so many different ways you can prepare them.” One of the most popular menu items at Embers is a deep-fried baked potato side dish, which is exactly what it sounds like: a traditional baked potato that has been deep fried. The crispy skin offers a delicious contrast with the creamy inside. “It’s a cult favorite here. Once people try it, they fall in love with it,” he says.
With spring well on its way, Lardie is in the middle of revamping his menu to reflect a few lighter options, including a handful of different meat dishes and the restaurant’s popular summer salmon salad.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.