Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the in, these shrunken heads are made from small potatoes. Impaled on wooden skewers, these little heads are easy to eat and delicious dipped in spicy ketchup. If you’re serving them to children or adults who have imbibed too much pumpkin beer, don’t bother skewering the potatoes; after all, you don’t want real blood sauce!
This recipe is for one pound of potatoes (about 12 – 13) but you can certainly double or triple it.
1 pound small potatoes (any variety), skins on, scrubbed well
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 - 2 TBS olive oil
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp hot sauce (your favorite)
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Using a sharp knife or a metal straw, cut large eyes and mouths into the potatoes. Discard the potato pieces or use in another recipe (like soup or hash browns).
Mix the salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper together. Set aside.
Rub the olive oil equally onto and around each potato, making sure to get it into the eye and mouth holes.
Sprinkle the salt & spice mix onto each potato equally and massage it until the potatoes are well-covered.
Place the potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan, face side up.
Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes.
Carefully flip the potatoes face side down. Roast for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft inside and crispy and wrinkled on the outside.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. If you’re skewering the potatoes, gently push the skewer through the bottom of the head and almost all the way through the top (don’t puncture the top of the head—you don’t want anyone to choke).
Mix the ketchup, hot sauce, and pumpkin pie spice and serve alongside the heads.
You can serve the shrunken heads hot, warm, or at room temperature (up to an hour).
Don’t Freak Out!
1) You can use whatever spice you want for the potatoes. Chili powder, cumin, rosemary, basil, oregano, fenugreek or sage would all be delicious.
2) For a more tomato-y, less sweet sauce, I recommend using an organic brand of ketchup. Instead of containing corn syrup, organic ketchups tend to use cane sugar—and the sugar is not one of the first ingredients. I find them much tastier but use what you prefer.
3) The hot sauce I used was Gochujang, a Korean chili sauce. Gochujang is often made from Korean chili powder, garlic, rice syrup, and fermented soybeans. I used a vegan, gluten-free version of Gochujang which does not include the soybeans. Use whatever hot sauce you prefer like Sriracha, Thai Chili Paste, or good ol’ Tabasco!
4) Don’t like ketchup? Try mayonnaise mixed with wasabi or Sriracha (homemade or prepared). If you spice your heads with sage, try honey or cranberry mustard. Basil and oregano shrunken heads naturally deserve a warm pizza sauce. Or spice your potatoes with garlic powder, cumin, and fenugreek and serve them with prepared mango or mint chutney.
5) If you’re not going to roast the potatoes right away, place them in a bowl of water face side down to prevent the eyes and mouth holes from turning brown.