Have you ever sliced potatoes and just placed them straight on the grill? It probably didn’t work out too well, did it? So how the heck do people make those delicious grilled potatoes? The answer is parboiling!
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables take a notoriously long time to cook, and the secret trick is to parboil them first. Parboiling essentially means partially cooking them in advance so that the starchy vegetables end up fully cooked once they are used in another recipe.
The reason potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables take so long to cook is that they're heavy on starch. By boiling out some of the starch, you soften them enough to cook through using other heat methods, without giving up any flavor.
Parboiled vegetables can be used in a variety of ways including in salads, hash, and stir-fry dishes. Another fun idea is to thinly slice a parboiled potato and place it on top of pizza with cream sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with bacon for a real treat!
And of course, parboiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots or parsnips are great on the grill too; check out delicious Cilantro Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes for proof!
How to Parboil:
- Peeler (if required)
- Root vegetables
- Cold water
- Clean the vegetables. If the recipe requires they be peeled, do that now.
- Place the vegetables in the stockpot, and fill with cool water until the vegetables are completely immersed.
- Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once water begins to boil, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the hot burner.
- Allow the vegetables to sit in the hot water for 8-12 minutes. depending on the size of ingredients.
- Test doneness by inserting a fork into one of the whole vegetables. The outer portion should be easily pierced by a fork, while the inner portion remains firm.
- Transfer vegetables into a large bowl and immediately cover with cold water. This stops the cooking process.
- Allow the vegetables to cool enough to handle, then pat dry. Slice, chop, etc as required for the recipe and continue cooking by second method. Common post-parboil cooking methods include grilling, roasting, and frying.