This post is going up on Christmas Eve. You have a big decision to make, perhaps the biggest culinary decision of the year. On Christmas Day, what direction will you take with the mashed potatoes?
Over the years, I have posted decadent mashed potato recipes here. Lately I have offered some healthy ones: low fat milk, olive oil in place of butter.
I feel noble about the healthy part. Yes there is deep inside my brain some region whispering: “It’s the holidays, what the heck?” For those of you who live on the Dark Side, here is potato decadence for you to consider: filled with milk, heavy cream and butter. I’m not saying you should make these. I’m just saying the recipe is here and if you are of the mind, then…
This recipe comes from The A.O.C. Cookbook, an inspiring and important cookbook. This Potato Puree is part of one of the complex recipes that are the signature of this cookbook: Coq Au Vin with Bacon, Potato Puree, Cipollini Onion, and Black Trumpets. If you make this Potato Puree, I suspect you will hunt down the book for the full recipe.
So I am offering this recipe to tantalize you, but also to make Christmas dinner succulently excellent and most authentically French.
Serves: 6 normal people, 4 potato fanatics
- 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- Kosher salt
Place the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, in a large saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons salt, and fill the pot with cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, turn down the heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until tender. One type of potato may be done before the other, so check for doneness and remove one variety first, if necessary.
When the potatoes are cooked through, drain them, and set them aside to cool for 10 minutes or so. Heat the cream and milk together in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat. When the potatoes have cooled, peel them and pass them through a food mill or potato ricer. Put the riced potatoes in a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat them over medium heat a few minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, to dry them out a little. Add the butter slowly, stirring constantly. Season with 2 ½ teaspoons salt.
When all the butter has been incorporated, slowly stir in the warm cream mixture until you have a smooth puree. Taste for seasoning. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh tamis twice for an extra-smooth consistency if you like.
Ah, what is a tamis? It’s simply a sieve in shaped like a snare-drum, idea for squishing out potato puree.