Friday, December 09, 2005

Spicy Mixed Potato Mash

I've been trying different variations of a spicy mashed potato for about a year and a half now after I tasted some Cajun potatoes at a friend's 30th birthday party. The caterer told me what he added to the potatoes, but I thought I might be able to improve upon his recipe. I started with cajun spices of white and black pepper, cayenne, and paprika, but thought the flavor needed a bit more depth. I therefore added Indian inspired spices of cumin, coriander and turmeric. Turmeric has little flavor, but it enriches the color and more importantly, has added health benefits. This anti oxidant and anti cancer root has been known for centuries to cleanse the body and is thought to be beneficial for persons with neurodegenerative disorders. Here's the final recipe, I don't think it'll get any better than this...

Spicy Mixed Potato Mash

4 Russet potatoes, peeled
4 Red skinned sweet potatoes (sometimes mistakenly called Yams) of similar size to the russets , peeled
1 Tablespoon kosher salt

about 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 cranks of a peppermill Black Pepper
5 cranks White Pepper

2 Tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted

Slice the two types of peeled potatoes into 3/4 inch slices and cover with cold water in a 3 or 4 quart sauce pan. Add the salt, cover, and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until fork tender.

While potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a small sauce pan and add minced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds or until you can smell the garlic. Do not brown the garlic. (Have the milk ready to add to stop the garlic from browning.) Add the milk and all the spices and warm the mixture over low heat.

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them immediately and place the uncovered pot back on a low burner. This will help aid in evaporating extra moisture. Mash the butter into the potatoes with a potato masher. Then add the milk mixture and mash until smooth. You can use a mixer or food processor, but I highly recommend a potato masher to keep them from getting pasty.

These are quite spicy, so I think it's a great side dish for Jerk Chicken or grilled meats. This would stand up nicely to blackened fish as well.

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