Ten ways to rein­vent mashed pota­toes

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - ALI­SON LADMAN

Truth is, mashed pota­toes don’t need a whole lot of love to come out pretty darn amaz­ing. A lit­tle but­ter (OK, a lot of but­ter), a lit­tle cream or milk (OK, a lot of cream or milk), a bit of salt and pep­per, and some mus­cle are all it takes to con­vert bor­ing pota­toes into one of our favourite com­fort foods.

And yet, we al­ways feel tempted to tin­ker, tempted to tart up our taters, as it were, par­tic­u­larly around the hol­i­day sea­son. Luck­ily, pota­toes are an easy can­vas to work with, play­ing so well with so many flavours. To help you mix things up a bit this year, we came up with our 10 favourite ways to doc­tor mashed pota­toes.

We also of­fer one bit of ad­vice about mak­ing mashed pota­toes, no mat­ter how you plan to sea­son them. After you boil and drain them, re­turn them to the pot and set it over low heat for just a minute or so, shak­ing the pot now and again to pre­vent stick­ing. The heat helps dry out the pota­toes, and dry pota­toes are tastier (be­cause the wa­ter doesn’t di­lute all that de­li­cious fat you’re about to add).

10 yummy ways to reimag­ine mashed pota­toes:

Start with three pounds of pota­toes of your choice, peeled (if de­sired), then halved and boiled un­til ten­der. Drain well, mash, then follow one of th­ese ideas:

Browned but­ter and sage: Melt 6 tbsp (90 mL) but­ter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 min­utes, then add a hand­ful of fresh sage leaves and cook for 3 to 4 min­utes more, or un­til the sage leaves are crisp and the but­ter is toasty smelling. Stir into the pota­toes and sea­son with salt and black pep­per.

Loaded baked potato: Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream, 1 cup (250 mL) crum­bled cooked ba­con, 1 /3 cup (80 mL) chopped fresh chives and 1 cup (250 mL) shred­ded ched­dar or jack cheese. Sea­son with salt and black pep­per.

Caramelize­d onion: Slowly cook 3 large sliced yel­low onions in 2 tbsp (30 mL) of but­ter over medium heat un­til deep golden brown, about 20 min­utes. If the pan be­gins to darken too much, add a cou­ple ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter and con­tinue cook­ing. Stir into the pota­toes with ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, salt and black pep­per.

Ranch: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) but­ter­milk, 1 tbsp (15 mL) Di­jon mus­tard, ½ tsp (2.5 mL) each of onion pow­der, pa­prika and garlic pow­der, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) each of chopped fresh chives, chopped fresh dill and chopped fresh pars­ley. Sea­son with salt and black pep­per.

Parme­san-truf­fle: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half, 1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parme­san cheese and an am­ple amount of black pep­per. Sea­son with ei­ther salt and a driz­zle of truf­fle oil, or with just truf­fle salt.

Chili-corn: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, 1 cup (250 mL) thawed frozen corn ker­nels and ¼ cup (60 mL) pick­led chopped jalapenos, then sea­son with salt and cayenne pep­per.

Sausage and fen­nel: In a large, deep skil­let, brown 1 pound (454 g) of loose Ital­ian sausage with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of crushed fen­nel seed and a diced leek (white part only). Stir into the pota­toes with ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half. Ad­just sea­son­ing with salt and black pep­per.

Curry: In a dry skil­let, com­bine 1 tbsp (15 mL) co­rian­der seeds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds, 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric and ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pep­per. Toast un­til fra­grant, then crush with a mor­tar and pes­tle (or a spice grinder). Stir into pota­toes with 1 cup (250 mL) green peas (heated), ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic pow­der, and salt and black pep­per.

Horse­rad­ish: Stir in 3 tbsp (45 mL) pre­pared horse­rad­ish, more or less to taste, along with ½ cup (125 mL) but­ter­milk, ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream and salt.

Four cheese: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half, ½ cup (125 mL) grated sharp ched­dar cheese, 4 oz (114 g) cream cheese at room tem­per­a­ture, ½ cup (125 mL) shred­ded Asi­ago cheese and ½ cup (125 mL) shred­ded Parme­san cheese.

Matthew Mead/The As­so­ci­ated Press

Sausage and fen­nel mashed pota­toes. Pota­toes are an easy can­vas to work with, play­ing so well with so many flavours. The right sea­son­ings and add-ins can make for a sure­fire sidedish suc­cess.

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