Around Thanksgiving, Weaver’s Orchard’s deli manager makes Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling in-house. It’s a rich, creamy, delicious taste of Pennsylvania cooking. We highly recommend picking some up for your Thanksgiving meal!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try making potato filling at home. The recipe below isn’t our deli’s secret recipe, but it’s an excellent recipe for beginners to try. It is time-consuming but not difficult, and the results are delectable. All of the savory flavors of Thanksgiving mingle in every bite.
A Washington Post columnist called potato filling “a Thanksgiving requirement for just about everyone in Pennsylvania Dutch country,” but if you live in this region and haven’t heard of it, I understand. Weaver’s was the first place I’d heard of it, too. When I first learned of this dish, I assumed it was another word for mashed potatoes. But no. Oh no. It’s so much more. It’s more like a combination of mashed potatoes and “stuffing” or “dressing.”
If you haven’t ever tried it, why not pick some up at our deli this Thanksgiving? Then you’ll know what you’re aiming for if you decide to make it at home next time around.
For those who want the DIY version, here’s how to do it. You begin by sautéing celery and shallots in what is basically a vat of butter. (Don’t skimp; this is what makes it so delicious.) Then you add cubed bread. Yesterday’s bread is a good choice, and fits Pennsylvania’s ethic of frugality. I used slices of homemade French bread I’d made the day before.
You let the bread marinate in shallot-celery-butter goodness, and then you make a pot of mashed potatoes. More butter follows (why not?), along with egg, salt and parsley. Then the whole mixture bakes for about half an hour to give it slightly crispy edges. (Those toasted edges are always the best part of any casserole, right?)
The result? I found myself taking small bites and savoring it as if it was ice cream or cheese cake. And I wanted to call my family members immediately and volunteer to bring this as a Thanksgiving side. I will plan to make it a day ahead, keep it in the fridge, and then warm it up in the oven about half an hour before serving.
This Thanksgiving, make sure potato filling is on the table. Make it yourself if you’re feeling ambitious, or swing by our deli for our take on this Pennsylvania tradition!
- 10 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large shallot (or 2 small), diced
- 2½ slices white bread, cubed
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ⅛ cup snipped parsley
- Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 3 quart glass baking pan.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter. When melted, add the celery and shallots. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add bread and cook 10 more minutes, letting the bread soak up the butter. Remove from heat.
- Add potatoes to a separate pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 minutes or until soft and mashable. Drain, return to pot, and mash them. Add the egg, milk, butter, and salt, stirring gently until combined. Then mix in the bread mixture and the fresh parsley.
- Add all of this to the baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are nicely browned.