7.9.11

fancy mashed potato


(pea mashed potato)

Mash is one of my favourite comfort foods, whether it is a super-fancy parsnip, or celeriac or even carrot mash, or just an ordinary potato mash.
Actually, it is the potato mash that I find most versatile, either as a stand-alone dish or as an accompaniment to meat mains.

I wanted to write up a few of my favourite potato mashes, and what they'd go well with, because as you start adding the extra ingredients, it becomes more difficult to just get away with adding "whatever" to it. Be as it may, all these are extremely easy to make, and they keep well in the fridge too, so they are ideal for busy students and people on the go.

BASIC POTATO MASH
(serves 4)

6 medium potatoes (my favourite is King Edward)
a knob of butter
milk
sea salt and black pepper

Peel and cut potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes. Place in cold salted water, bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until when you pierce the potato with a fork, it falls apart into 2 halves easily.
Remove from heat and drain well.

Using a masher device (I use ordinary hand-held, but there are many fancy ones around), press down on potatoes, mashing them.
I like texture in my potatoes so mine are never perfectly smooth, although they are always mashed well.
Into still hot potatoes, first add as much butter as you like. I usually add about 30 - 50 g but chefs will add a lot more. Cut the butter into smaller cubes and stir with a fork until all melted. Now start gradually adding milk. You want your potatoes to be smooth and not too runny, but you don't want them too stiff, becuase they'll stiffen as they cool. I suppose the quantity of milk really depends on the type of potato used, so it's best that you judge this yourself.

When you are happy with the consistency of your mash, add salt and pepper gradually, stirring each time and tasting, until it is just perfect.

This mash can be served with anything, but it is particularly yummy with breaded fish or chicken, goulash, paprikash, braised meats or as a topping for Shepherd's pie.

PEA MASHED POTATOES

6 medium potatoes
100 g frozen peas
50 g parmesan (or cheddar, if you prefer, but any hard yellow cheese will be fine)
butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Cook the potato as per basic recipe, but in the last 10 minutes of cooking, add frozen peas.
When all is cooked, proceed as per usual - drain and mash, making sure you leave lots of texture.
To the mash, add butter, then some milk, and then grated parmesan. As you keep mixing, see if you need any more milk.
When you are happy with the consistency, add salt and pepper to taste.

These are absolutely fantastic served with honey and haloumi chicken, but would go great with some honey pork chops, grilled tofu or as a stand-alone vegetarian dish served with a nice salad too.

BROCCOLI MASHED POTATOES (my family's favourite)

6 medium potatoes
1/2 floret of organic broccoli
2 tbsp creme fraiche
butter, milk, sea salt and black pepper

Cook the mash as above, but to the potato add broccoli separated into chunky pieces. Add the broccoli at the beginning because it will take them the same amount of time as potatoes to get soft and tender.
When done, drain and mash together until you have yummi-looking mash with broccoli all throughout it.
Add little cubes of butter and creme fraiche, mix until all is well dissolved and then add milk gradually until you reach desired consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste and serve as a vegetarian dish, with salmon or any other fish, or with roast chicken or beef for an interesting and fresh twist on the usual combination of flavours.

ONION MASHED POTATOES

6 medium potatoes
2 large onions
2-3 tbsp olive oil
milk, salt and pepper

Cook the potato as above.
Slice the onions finely and sauté them in moderately hot olive oil until caramelised. When done, drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Mash the potatoes first, then add the onions and a bit of milk and mix well. This mash gets its oil from the onions, but you may add extra butter if you wish.
Keep adding the milk until you have firm yet silky consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with sausages (of course).

LEEK MASHED POTATOES

6 medium potatoes
1 leek
50 g butter
150 ml milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and mash the potatoes as above.

Sllice the leek into thin slices and sauté in butter for 5 minutes. Add the milk and continue to cook for another 10 - 15 minutes, until soft and tender.
When the leek is done, add it, together with juices, to the mash (don't add all the liquid at once, just in case, you may not need it all).
Mix well, adding salt and pepper until you are happy with the consistency and taste.

Serve with gammon.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

6 medium potatoes
3 cloves garlic
small bunch of fresh, flat leaf parsley
butter, milk, salt and pepper

Cook and mash the potatoes as above.

Mince the garlic and chop the parsley finely. Add to the mash together with little cubes of butter and some milk.
Mix well until butter is dissolved, and then add more milk and salt and pepper to taste.
This is a very uplifting mash that goes very nicely with very simple and high quality meats like steak, lamb shank or roast chicken.

Bon appétit!

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