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Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Trio of Mashed Potatoes

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Is there anyone who doesn’t get excited about the thought of homemade mashed potatoes? Don’t even tell me you use instant, that's just wrong. Having said that, there is one thing plain instant potato mix is good for and that’s thickening soup, it's ideal. But I digress ... getting back to the subject at hand, homemade mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream and chives is hard to beat. But sometimes it's nice to try some variations, so here are three. BLT mash (not with lettuce but with leeks), Pesto mash, and yet again from England the classic Bubble and Squeak.

BLT Mash

2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 pound sliced bacon
2 cups sliced leeks (whites only)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 warmed
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons minced, oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender about 20 minutes. Sauté bacon in frying pan. Remove bacon from pan when crisp and then add the leeks to the bacon fat and cook until tender. Add sun-dried tomatoes to leek mixture and add bacon back in. Drain potatoes, then mash them in the pan. Add bacon, leeks, and tomato mix, plus all the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pesto mashed potatoes

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup half-and-half, warmed

Blend basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper flakes in food processor until minced then drizzle in olive oil. Boil potatoes and garlic in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, return to the pan to the stove and dry the potatoes briefly over medium heat. Mash them in the pan and stir in basil mixture, butter, and half-and-half. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately, as basil will change color and darken over time.

Bubble and Squeak

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices bacon, cubed
1/2 small head cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted

Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, and crumble bacon. Saute cabbage and onion until soft and translucent. Putting a lid on the pan helps the vegetables cook faster. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the cabbage and onions, and then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter and mix well, then form potato mix into small cakes and fry till browned.

Note: Celery root can also be boiled and added to mashed potatoes to give them another wonderful flavor.