These 1943 O’Brien Potatoes are everything you want in a late-winter side or breakfast dish. Soft, cubed potatoes are studded with green peppers, onions, and bacon and simply seasoned with salt and pepper to make the perfect, rustic comfort food. It’s savory and warm for those last cold blustery March days.
While this recipe does contain bacon, it’s easily adaptable for vegans and vegetarians!
Potatoes and the Irish are pretty synonymous. It’s pretty much what they grew for a couple hundred years. Potatoes love Irish soil. But to be honest, I’m not very familiar with Irish cuisine. I can maybe rattle off a handful of Irish dishes. It’s sad, because my great-great-great grandma Margaret is Irish. I really should know more about my Irish heritage.
This recipe comes from a wartime booklet called Health-for-Victory Meal Planning Guide January 1943 issue. Global cuisine was pretty popular during this period, and with WWII it steadily gained even more popularity.
Many recipes from the time were stereotyped and altered to cater to the wider American palette which created a whole new culture of food in its own right. In this case, O’Brien Potatoes isn’t really an Irish dish, but it can be fudged as one. No one really knows the exact origin of the dish, so my reasoning for the Irish naming is because it’s made with potatoes, and it has something green in it. Or maybe the person who created it was Irish. What do you think? Either way, it makes a great side dish for corned beef or whatever you may be serving for St. Patrick’s Day. This even makes a great dish for breakfast with a side of eggs!
No matter when you serve this dish, it’s delicious! It’s one my whole family has enjoyed and requested as a repeat, so that’s always a great sign. The original version of this recipe has no bacon, so I’m tagging this recipe as vegan and vegetarian because it’s easily adaptable for those diets!
Cut the bacon into fourths. Fry in a heavy frying pan. When crispy and browned, remove bacon to paper towels. Add diced onion and diced green pepper to the bacon fat in the pan and stir. Add the diced raw potatoes. Stir until coated well with the bacon fat. Cover and cook on low until done, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the bacon. When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat. If adding dried parsley, add it now and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If using fresh parsley, serve the O’Brien Potatoes hot garnished with the fresh parsley and chopped bacon. Omit the bacon for vegan or vegetarian diets.