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|High Temp Oil (grape seed, peanut, etc.)
|Oven Safe Fry Pan
|(cast iron would be best)
|Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425º.
Pick two potatoes that are closest to a cylindrical shape and are somewhat small to start with. Cut the ends off of each. Then, standing them up on end, cut off the skin, a little at a time, down the side of the potato as you rotate them, so that you end up with a potato that is flat top and bottom and cylindrical. Then cut them in half widthwise. Try to do so in such a way as to make them all the same size and shape.
Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water for half an hour or so to leach out some of the starch from the outside. Then transfer to a wire rack with paper towels top and bottom. Dry thoroughly. Browning can't happen in the presence of water.
To the frying pan add the oil and set to high heat until oil shimmers. Place potatoes cut end down. Do not crowd them, so browning can rise up the sides a little. Reduce to medium high heat and let fry until golden brown (not tan - we want a lots of maillard). While this is happening, salt & pepper generously. You will need to spoon a little oil from the pan over the tops of the potatoes to get the seasoning to stick, otherwise, it will just fall off into the oil when you turn them over.
Once the first end is thoroughly browned, remove from pan. Discard oil. Add butter to pan, and place the potatoes back in the pan with the other (unbrowned) side down. Then add the sprigs of thyme (whole, so you can remove them later), pressing them (with tongs) down into the butter to get them soaked - for two reasons. One, to infuse the butter with the thyme flavor, and two, so you can "mop" the potatoes with the butter soaked thyme as they cook. Don't forget to liberally season this side of the potatoes with salt & pepper as well.
As the potatoes cook in the butter, the butter will foam, and the foam will turn brown. When the foam turns brown dump the chicken stock (gently) into the pan. Then carefully place pan into the 425º oven for 30 minutes, until tender. If your pan runs dry of stock, simply add a little more until the potatoes are done, so the bottoms won't burn. But only a small amount. We want the concentrated flavor of the stock and butter for a finishing sauce.
Serve with thyme sprigs artfully splayed over the tops of your Fondant Potatoes with a drizzle of the thyme infused butter.