Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Tom Popatis: Now, we have all of our potatoes diced or cut up into chunks, and what were going to do, were going to start; were going to season these potatoes. The way were going to season them, very simple, what I have is, I have some -- this is just onion soup mix? There are different varieties. This one has a chicken base. So, if you are doing a chicken dish and you want your potatoes to kind of blend in with your chicken, then use a soup with a chicken base. If youre using beef, you can buy one with a beef base, but its just also this is just a dry soup mix, an onion soup mix that were going to take and were just going to first to grease some olive oil.
Id like to use Extra Virgin olive oil. Were going to coat the potatoes with olive oil and just a generous amount, so that it gives them a little bit of slippery, here we go. Were going to do that, what I suggest, a lot of times I want to reach for the salt, and throw salt on there. Theres probably enough sodium in this soup mix that we dont need to do that. So, were just going to sprinkle this on top, just like that. I am going to take a little bit of roasted garlic. We are going to put some roasted garlic in with this; the roasted garlic are going to give it a real nice flavor, put these back up here. Ive got a little bit of parsley, not a whole lot, because parsley y can have a tendency to burn, especially if we give it too high heat on it, here we go. I am going to put some fresh ground black pepper. So, were going to grind some pepper onto this, and go to what you feel. I mean if you dont like a lot of pepper, just use a little bit. If you like pepper, go for lot. Remember, if youre serving people that arent your family, go kind of easy on it.
The other thing were going to do is a little bit of oregano. Ive got a little bit of good Greek oregano that I am going to throw in there, here we go, just a tiny bit, its kind of strong. Were going to take these, and were going to mix them up. So, also I am doing is taking and just mixing the olive oil and potatoes and spices, and were just going to mix these altogether just like that, get everything coated. Once we get these coated up real good, then were going to put them in a baking dish. Personally, I have a stone dish that I really like using stone versus glass, it just seems to me, it does a nicer job, but here we go.
So, we have everything mixed up. I am going to take my baking dish; I am going to put some olive oil in my baking dish. I am going to rub that around, and just coat the sides, get it coated real good. Now, what we put in there for olive oil, I went kind of sparse on it. So, we can actually benefit from a little bit of extra olive oil in this. So, were going to set that there, and move this off from here, so I can get to my towel, wipe my hands off. Here we go.
So, were going to take and dump these in here. As you can see like get all of this nice stuff and were going to spread them out throughout here, and like I said, Ive got this olive oil on my hands already. So, it doesnt really matter, kind of layer them out nice and flat, there we go. You can see how everything is very nicely coated.
Now, what were going to do, I am going to go ahead and use that hand. I am going to take these; I am going to put them in a 375 degree oven. Were going to put them in for approximately 45 minutes. They come out, theyll be nice, cooked, soft, you want them soft, if you want them a little bit brown, turn the broiler on about the last five ten minutes, it will brown the top. Lets see how it goes, here we go. Into the oven, thats it, thats how easy it is. We wait for 45 minutes, when theyre done, we bring them out, let them cool and serve them.