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Add some flavor to a favorite holiday side dish

Dinner is often a focal point of holiday celebrations.

Thanksgiving dinner, for example, is something many people look forward to all year long.

But just because holiday dinners are a beloved tradition for many families, that does not mean home cooks cannot experiment in the kitchen come the big day. Those who want to add some flare to a favorite side dish may want to consider the following recipe for Jammin’ Roast Potatoes from Helen Willinsky’s “Jerk From Jamaica” (Ten Speed Press).

Jammin’ Roast Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

3 pounds potatoes

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 habanero or serrano chili, seeded and minced

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons Dry Jerk Seasoning (see below)

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Scrub the potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the diced potatoes in a bowl and cover with cold water, and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread them out on a towel to let them dry a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the potatoes in a bowl with the onions, bell pepper, garlic, and chili, and toss them with the vegetable oil to coat. Mix the dry jerk seasoning, hot sauce, black pepper, and salt with the potatoes. Pour the potato mixture onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Put in the oven and, after 20 minutes, turn the vegetables. Continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned and crisp (if they aren’t, continue baking and check them every 10 minutes). Remove from the oven, scrape into a serving bowl, and serve hot.

 Dry Jerk Seasoning

Makes 5 tablespoons

1 tablespoon onion flakes

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons ground dried thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried chives or green onions

Mix together all the ingredients. Store leftover seasoning in a tightly closed glass jar. It will keep its pungency for more than a month.

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.