Repurpose Leftover Potatoes With A Comforting Mexican Classic

Potatoes are comfort food all around. It's something about their mildness and adaptability which can be molded to suit our culinary moods — plus the fact they're included in so many favorite dishes. Leftover potatoes could be even better. They're a foundation already built; with a few more minutes and ingredients, they morph into a meal, sometimes completely different than their original intent. Gnocchi, bread, home fries, crispy fish cakes, shepherd's pie, and vegan cheese sauce are just the beginning of an extensive list of recipes that use leftover potatoes to great advantage. And fortunately, as BBC Good Food points out, cooked potatoes can be frozen. So if you're strapped for time, instead of allowing them to go to waste, throw them in the freezer and let them help you out later.

There's another classic dish containing potatoes that might not be as familiar as some, although it's as delicious and comforting as any other. Per Mexican Made Meatless, tacos de papa (potato tacos) is a favored meatless taco option in Mexican cuisine. Featuring seasoned cooked potatoes in fried corn tortillas and topped with the usual suspects, they're a convenient food that uses budget-friendly staples. While simple to make, they're loads easier if starting with prepared potatoes.

Tacos are a delicious upgrade for surplus potatoes

Tacos de papa is such a popular dish in Mexico that it's frequently cooked at home and served in restaurants, according to Nancy, the blogger behind Mexican Made Meatless. While traditionally vegan, a vegetarian version only needs some cotija cheese or queso sauce combined with the filling. Per Yvette of Muy Bueno Cookbook, potato tacos are commonly prepared during the Christian season of Lent, during which the consumption of meat is prohibited on certain days for those who observe. Her recipe includes queso Oaxaca; however, it can be omitted if desired. In that case, consider adding roasted green chile instead or topping the tacos with creamy guacamole.

Russets are the preferred potato variety for the mashed filling, which might also contain minced garlic, onion, and paprika. Potatoes usually require liberal salting, so don't neglect to taste the mixture before rolling or folding the tortillas (both are acceptable)– per Yvette, be careful not to overfill them. Potato tacos can be fried conventionally, air-fried, or oven baked, and they should be enjoyed generously garnished. Cabbage or lettuce, chopped tomato, cilantro, salsa, guacamole, crumbled cheese, and sour cream are all perfect accompaniments.

In an alternative rendition shared by Epicurious, pan-fried potato skins, rather than smashed potatoes, are the stuffing for warmed tortillas, along with sautéed onion and serrano chilies. They're delightfully uncomplicated (and incredibly resourceful) yet packed with contrasting textures.