Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Roasted Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Mashed Potatoes Served



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Fear Conquered: Mashed Potatoes

I've got a confession to make. I don't like gravy.

I know, I know - who doesn't like gravy? Who doesn't ladle gravy over turkey at Thanksgiving or into the center of a glorious mound of mashed potatoes? Seriously. Who doesn't like gravy!

::raises hand::

It's not that I won't use a little gravy from time to time - and on occasions, I've tasted some marvelously spiced gravies made from the juices of roasted birds. But if someone overlooked the gravy at a holiday meal, you wouldn't hear me complaining.

After all, a deliciously moist turkey or chicken breast doesn't require a bath of gravy. And a fluffy mound of flavorful mashed potatoes are delicious without a pool of flavored fat in the center. Yes, I know - most people would beg to differ (some quite loudly) and others might turn up their noses entirely at mashed potatoes served without gravy. I wouldn't hold it against them - how could I? I am apparently the only crazy person who doesn't love gravy!

In fact, recently a friend of mine asked me to develop a healthy but delicious gravy recipe. And I really do plan to fulfill his request. But quite frankly, it's difficult to feel inspired over a sauce I don't crave or a gravy I really don't understand. Maybe with enough attempts, someday I too will achieve normalcy, fall in love with conformity and join all the blissful cooing over the Thanksgiving table at the dark pool of sauce dammed-up by my potatoes.

Plated Swiss Steak Distace

Today is NOT that day.

Today I beg you to try potatoes without gravy. Even more shocking, I ask you to leave behind the gobs of sour cream, turn your back on heavy cream and (almost) conquer your dependence on butter. If you're feeling a bit skeptical, I don't blame you. I spent two years (no exaggeration) working on this mashed potato recipe without any regard for health. I added whole sticks of butter, great spoonfuls of sour cream, crazy amounts of heavy cream - and still couldn't arrive at the perfect mashed potato!

Sometimes the flavor was wrong - too bland or too tangy or too salty or too buttery. Sometimes the texture was off - too dry, too soupy, too gummy. I started trying new ingredients like fennel, garlic and onions. But something was STILL wrong.

The secret ingredient to amazing mashed potatoes wasn't butter or sour cream. It wasn't fennel or garlic (although they helped considerably). It was the not-so-secret addition of cauliflower. Imagine my consternation when, after 2 years spent mucking around with dairy fat, I discovered that a humble and healthful vegetable was THE key ingredient. Yes, the secret to delicious mashed potatoes is cauliflower.

Roasted Mashed Potatoes

I didn't stumble on this ingredient on my own - I was unwillingly persuaded. After all, folks have been buzzing about the wonders of mashed cauliflower for quite some time - crazy gravy-loving people with their crazy mashed cauliflower! I was far too busy obsessing over the perfect mixture of dairy fat to pay much heed. But then my good friend D raved about mashed cauliflower on Facebook, and I grudgingly decided to toss some florets into my mashed potatoes. Because FINE! If everyone else INSISTS, what CHOICE do I really have?!

::cough:: Yes - I was wrong. Mashed cauliflower is delightful. Those crazy gravy-loving people were right.

The point is, don't make the same mistake I did by blindly depending on dairy fat to boost the flavor of starchy bland potatoes. With the right balance of cauliflower, you will unlock the creaminess of the potatoes, add a tremendous burst of flavor (tastes nothing like cauliflower) and pack in a wallop of nutritional benefits for far fewer calories.

My recipe is really just a balance of flavors and textures that when paired together deliver a silky-smooth mound of mashed potatoes packed with so much flavor you'll never need that gravy boat of flavored fat again. Unless you're normal and you love gravy, in which case, I suppose I'll forgive you.

Let me clarify a few things before getting to the recipe:
  • I roast the potatoes (and everything else) instead of boiling - this concentrates the flavors and minimizes the loss of nutrients during cooking
  • When I want mashed potatoes, I want mashed potatoes - not some facsimile. Thus the ratio of potatoes to cauliflower to fennel to garlic is carefully balanced. For me, this balance works perfectly but adjust to suit your preference
  • I use a food mill to puree everything - which aids considerably in eliminating lumps, preventing gumminess and in breaking down the garlic and fennel. This is a great kitchen tool and I highly recommend adding one to your wish list if you don't already own one. In a pinch, you could attempt using a potato ricer instead



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Photo Tutorial

Ingedients for Mashed Potatoes
Prepare the potatoes, cauliflower, fennel and garlic.

Ingredients added to baking dish
Combine in a large roasting dish and toss with olive oil, pepper and salt. Roast at 425F for 45 minutes, stirring once.

Pour Buttermilk Over Potatoes
Remove the potato mix from the oven and pour over 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Stir to combine and let rest for 5 minutes.

Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Meanwhile, grate 2 ounces of parmesan cheese.

Food Mill Assembled
Prepare a food mill or potato ricer to puree the potato mixture. I use the medium texture plate.

Puree Poatoes into a Separate bowl
Pass the potato mixture through the food mill into a large bowl.

Add Greek Yogurt & Parmesan
Add the Greek yogurt and parmesan cheese to the potatoes.

Beat in Parmesan Cheese and Yogurt
Whip the potatoes with a hand electric mixer. Check for seasonings and temperature; adjust as necessary.

Roasted Mashed Potatoes Served
Serve immediately.



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Roasted Mashed Potatoes

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 30 min
     Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and sliced
  • 4 - 5 medium gold potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into 1-inch flowerettes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉
  2. In a large roasting pan, combine the fennel, potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, salt and cracked pepper; toss to evenly coat
  3. Roast the potato mixture uncovered for 40-45 minutes, stirring once half-way through the roasting time
  4. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and immediately pour the buttermilk over the potato mixture, stir to work loose the crusty bits loose and let rest for 5 minutes
  5. Using either a food mill or a potato ricer, puree the potato mixture into a large bowl; use a hand-held electric mixer to beat in the Greek yogurt, butter and grated parmesan cheese; check for the potatoes for seasoning and temperature and adjust if needed; serve immediately
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Hungry for Tips?
  • Texture: Don't go too crazy with adding cauliflower or you will end up with a sludgy mess instead of silky-smooth potatoes. And don't over-whip with the hand-mixer or you will arrive at a gummy paste.
     
  • Buttermilk: The buttermilk is an important ingredient - it adds richness and flavor without adding much fat. You could use milk in a pinch, but it won't pack the same flavor punch.
     
  • Hand Mixer: I do not recommend using a stand mixer for making mashed potatoes. In my experience, the stand mixer will either fail to remove all the lumps or will turn the entire batch into a gummy mess.
     
  • Food Mill: I’m not a big fan of specialized kitchen tools - and I'm sure that's what some would consider the food mill to be. However, there's really no other tool like it in the kitchen and it really can be quite versatile when making soups, purees and obviously mashed foods.
     
  • Yogurt: Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream keeps this recipe healthful - and it works perfectly because you only use a small amount so the distinctive flavor goes unnoticed.
     
  • Butter: Yes, there's a couple pats of butter and some parmesan cheese - but to be fair, that butter is spread across 6 servings and parmesan cheese is lean as cheese goes. If you want to cut even more fat, eliminate both of these ingredients and add a splash of skim milk.



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24 comments:

  1. Call me crazy but I'm not a big fan of mashed potato at all. I had it once and that was it for me. I'm such a weirdo eh? Now, hubby is totally opposite he loves mashed potato-unfortunately he can only eat it once a year which is for thanksgiving haha

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    1. lol well, if I'm allowed to hate on gravy, I guess you can hate on mashed potatoes! However, there is a big difference between potatoes mashed with a little milk (or those dreadful boxed flakes!) and these mashed potatoes...

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  2. I don't care for gravy, either. But I love mashed cauliflower (no potatoes included!).

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    1. I've honestly never had plain mashed cauliflower - I know, I know. I'm so stubborn! But baby steps, baby steps. I'm working up to it ;)

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  3. Love that you included cauliflower!

    I'm crazy with you, I don't-do-gravy either. You are SO right, if it's an awesome recipe, no gravy required :)

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    1. I'm so glad you agree and yay for another crazy person! :) A couple friends on Facebook said the same thing, so I guess we're not completely alone!

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  4. OmGoodness! Awesome recipe : ) I am def. going to have to try this one. I love the roasting of everything, adore the addition of the fennel, would never leave out the garlic ; ) and really, now I am (sorta) convinced on the whole mashed cauliflower "thing". I mentioned it to the sweetie last week that it was something we should try...yea...he just looked at me with a blank stare and said, uh huh : D This will be the one I'll try...nice post JW! Oh...and I need one of those food mills too, I've been secretly wanting one for awhile now. Great photos too by the way! Still using your Iphone? Amazing if you are...

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    1. Thanks so much Jenn - I'm glad you enjoyed and I really do hope you give them a try. Let me know how they turn out for you. And yup, still using my iPhone. I'm lucky it has such a good camera & that iPhoto cleans up the pics so nicely...

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  5. Hey I have never liked gravy either! Probably because I grew up without knowing what gravy was, anyway I find if the meat is of good quality there is no need for gravy (especially the packet rubbish one!) as it will be moist and tasty anyway.
    Great recipe here, love these mashed potatoes recipe. Very interesting.

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    1. Woot! Woot! Another gravy-hater! I agree - the packet stuff is the absolute worst, no flavor at all... And I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe - I'm finally happy with it ;)

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  6. That bowl of healthy ingredients really pulls you in! This dish really sheds a whole new light on mashed potatoes. Would have never thought of adding cauliflower but it does look like it works delicious. Well done!

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    1. Thanks Tina and I'm glad you approved - I really can't take credit tho ;) The concept of mashed cauliflower has been well documented before this blog ;)

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  7. I think you need to move closer to me (hey we've got tropical weather all the time) and just have you cook for us! LOL! The potatoes look delicious. I love the idea of roasting them too. Mashed potatoes are one of my favorites.

    As far as gravy goes, I don't eat a lot of gravy but using it in a dish like making homemade turkey or chicken pot pies or vegetarian shepherds pie - now those the places I loves me some gravy (or filling material if you will). :)

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    1. lol If the bf's job ever takes him to your local, you'll be the first to know ;) And I agree with you regarding gravy IN things - you can't enjoy a propper shepherd's pie without some good gravy ;)

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  8. Wow - this is BRILLIANT! I really like cauliflower mashed potatoes...but I never thought of adding it to potatoes AND fennel. I bet the taste is terrific!

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    1. Thank you Ann - that means a lot to me =) And the flavor really is so much better than plain old mashed potatoes...

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  9. Wow who would have thought that it would be cauliflower! Thanks for sharing the results of your many taste tests JW!

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    1. I was probably the most surprised of all :) I'm glad you enjoyed...

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  10. I never thought of using cauliflower and fennel. Great post!!

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    1. Thank you Ismael - that means a lot to me and I'm glad I could surprise you =)

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  11. It's not just you, CT doesn't like gravy either! Great post. I've heard of people taking to mashed cauliflower as a low carb alternative to potatoes, but never combining them. On of my favourite comfort meals is mashed potato and cauliflower cheese so now I'm just going to have to try mashed potato with cauliflower and without the cheese sauce. It's rare for me not to add garlic, but would never have thought to put fennel in - nice idea too. as for wasting nutrients by boiling / steaming, I always keep any veg water for soups, so my reasoning is I don't lose anything :-S

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    1. I love the idea of keeping the boiling/steaming water for soups/stocks! And since I don't boil/steam a whole lot, I could actually swing that without tying up all my fridge space ;) I'm glad you enjoyed and if you do try the potato/cauliflower mix, let me know what you think...

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  12. Wow, just scrolling down the list I can't believe how many people aren't gravy fans. I am so there on that one--gravy? Ehn. Mashed potatoes should be good enough to not need a little something extra. And you know you had me at cauliflower! I knew you did the potatoes and cauliflower together, so I'm super excited to have your well-thought-out recipe to take the plunge with. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Jody and I hope you enjoy! I was bit surprised myself to find so many comrades who don't crave gravy =) We all have to stick together lol

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