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Luckily my cheesy dinner doesn’t stop at broccoli cheddar soup. A twice baked, loaded potato compliments the soup and rounds out the meal.

Roast the potatoes whole in a 375-degree oven until tender, or easily pierced with a sharp knife, which will seem like an eternity. Once cool enough to handle, scoop put the flesh and mash with cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped chives and crumbled cooked bacon. Season with S & P.

Next, fill the potato skins with the mashed potatoes, top with a bit more cheese and bake just until warmed through and the cheese on top melts.

One of my favorite things about spending time with my parents and brother is all the incredible food we prepare together. This past Christmas vacation, I was assigned a night to make dinner, and this is what I created:

Whether it was my mom who was quick to clean a bowl or stir the red cabbage; my dad who poured the cocktails (my mom warned, “Watch how much you’re drinking–I don’t want drunk pork chops!”); or my brother who is always armed with a joke, I kept great company in the kitchen. And that truly is what I enjoy most about cooking.

The pork chop was simply seasoned with S & P, seared and then finished in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven. Deglazed the pan with white wine, and after that reduced I poured in chicken stock. Once the liquid evaporated by half, I stirred in some heavy cream and mustard.

As for the mashed potatoes, I did the same old thing I usually do.

The red cabbage? Well that’s a breeze. But I’m gonna save that for another post. Keep ya coming back for more (either that or you’ll be so annoyed with me, you’ll boycott EIYU all together. Please don’t).

Now stop reading about my family and my meals–grab someone you love (gently, of course) and make something delicious.

It’s not much of a secret, really. It’s just that few are committed enough to use the quantity of butter, salt and heavy cream that truly decadent mashed potatoes require.

(This photo was taken in hindsight, after the taters had cooled in the fridge. They taste better than they appear.)

Do this to starchy potatoes: peel, dice, put in pot, cover with cold water, boil, cook till tender, drain, mash. Now here’s the important part: add tons of butter, heavy cream and salt. Do it little by little, each time pushing the limits of fat and sodium. Just when you’re on the brink of insanity, that’s when you stop. The point is to taste buttery, creamy, salty potatoes, but not taste just heavy cream, butter and salt. The three elements should meld together to your tastes for indulgent mashed potatoes that rival any decent restaurant.

Here you have a blank canvas. For this potato side, I added freshly ground black pepper and squeezed in a whole head of roasted garlic. Feel free to do the same. And, as always, feel free to remove your pantaloons for this ultra-comfortable comfort food.

Ah, you’ve returned. Well good. Now we can get back to that chicken.

To back up just a bit, instead of placing the quartered chicken on a plain old baking sheet, let’s add some color. Chop five or so medium leeks and clean well. Scatter them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle with oil and a touch of S & P. When cooking the chicken, lay them directly on the leeks. All other steps outlined in Part One remain the same.

While the chicken is cooking, peel and dice potatoes and butternut squash and boil in water in two separate pots. Once they are fork-tender, drain, combine in one pot and mash or whisk until smooth. Season with butter, S & P.

Now, there’s one more installment in The Perfect Roasted Chicken Series. I know you’re thinking, Damn–how could this recipe get any better? Come back tomorrow to find out.