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Posts Tagged ‘Potatoes’

We often end up with all sorts of odds and ends after cooking at the weekend. So a regular Monday night dinner for us is lots of veggie side dishes, all served together. It’s a bit like a roast dinner but you really don’t need the meat and you get to try lots of new dishes too. We served these with Cooleeney & tarragon cauliflower cheese, roasted parsnips and steamed sprouts. Don’t worry to much about the herbs, just use what you have, parsley on it’s own would be fine.

Sautéed potatoes with bacon lardons & persillade – serves 6 (easily halved)

  • 1kg potatoes, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 300g smoked bacon lardons (we used pancetta)
  • 25g unsalted butter

FOR THE PERSILLADE:

  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2tsp chopped chervil
  • 1 tarragon sprig, leaves chopped
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan, just cover with boiling water, then simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to steam dry.

Mix all of the persillade ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the bacon or pancetta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Add the potatoes, then the butter.

Season with salt and black pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden brown all over. Stir in the persillade, then serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A truly delicious veggie main. Perhaps best made by someone else if you would prefer not to see the amount of cream and butter involved. It’s cold outside, and we really didn’t feel like a salad tonight.

Wine Suggestion: A homely, oaked chardonnay is our choice. In our rack both the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch and the Domaine Ventenac in Cabardes are vying for attention. The latter won out tonight, but it could have gone either way. Nice to have choice.

Potato, leek & blue cheese pie – serves 6

FOR THE POTATO TOP:

  • 1kg large potatoes, peeled (use a variety good for mashing)
  • 175ml full-cream milk
  • 100g unsalted butter

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 leeks, sliced into 3cm rounds
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 50g plain flour
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 180ml double cream
  • 150 frozen peas
  • 100g blue cheese, crumbled into small chunks
  • a small handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Start with the topping. Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces, not too small. Put into a large saucepan and just cover with cold water, season with salt. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes, then return to the warm saucepan and leave to steam for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently heat the milk and butter together in a small pan until the butter has melted.

Start mashing the potatoes, then gradually add the hot milk and butter mixture. Keep mashing until well combined and smooth. It will seem like you have too much milk and butter but keep going. Season well with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Next make the filling. Put a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, half the thyme leaves, 25g of the butter and the garlic. Add 100ml of water, season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400 F/Gas 6.

Put a colander over a bowl, then drain the leeks in the colander and reserve the cooking liquid.

Rinse the pan and return it to a medium heat. Add the rest of the butter and when melted, stir in the flour and cook for a minute over a low heat. Add the leek and cooking liquid, plus the milk and double cream. Whisk the sauce well until it is thick and creamy, it’s ready when small bubbles are just starting to break on the surface.

Stir in the peas, leeks and half the blue cheese. Add the parsley and lots of salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a dish and level it out. Heap the mash on top but don’t worry about being too neat. Dot the remaining cheese over the top, then sprinkle with the rest of the thyme leaves. Season the top with salt and pepper, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant, Quadrille, 2020.)

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We know it’s not broad bean season, but frozen broad beans are right up there with frozen peas as an excellent frozen veg and so we eat them all year round. This is a recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules and the perfect side dish for fish (or indeed fishfingers if you’re avoiding the shops!). It’s different from our usual potatoes as we tend to add lots of Irish butter, we didn’t miss it here, though we did spread some on the potato skins – it would be a shame to waste them!

Crushed potatoes with broad beans – serves 4 as a side

  • 350g baking potatoes, skins on
  • 50g streaky bacon
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 50g crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40 minutes to 1 an hour, until completely soft inside. You don’t need the skins but this method will give perfectly crispy skins that you can eat with a bit of butter and salt while you finish the dish.

Meanwhile, heat a splash of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the bacon and fry until the fat starts to release. When it starts to crisp, add the scallions and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Cook the broad beans in a pan of salty boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain.

Scoop the warm potato out of the skins and put into a saucepan over a very low heat. Add the beans and crush until smoothish, but still with a bit of texture. Stir in the crème fraîche and dill, then season generously with salt and black pepper.

Spoon the bacon and its fat over the dish and serve.

(Original recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.)

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Inspired by a clip we saw of Marcus Wareing while browsing online one lazy Sunday. Dead easy, we wish we’d discovered this method before and will be doing this from now on. The trick is getting the moisture out of the potatoes, and the result is crusty potato with a moist soft centre. We served with barbecued bacon and poached eggs.

  • Potatoes for two people – we used three medium ones
  • a small onion or shallot
  • butter

Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Spread out on a tray and sprinkle with salt.

Coursely grate the onion.

After a few minutes put the grated potato into the middle of a clean tea towel and twist up over a sink. Squeeze out all the liquid – make sure it’s dry.

Mix grated potato and onions in a bowl and season generously.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat and when hot add the potato mix. Use a spoon to flatten out into a circle and then push the sides inwards to shape and form into a cake. Fry until starting to form a crust; you’ll need to lift an edge and peak to find out.

Place a plate the same size as the rosti on top of it and turn the pan over holding the plate as well. Slide the rosti back  into the pan, now crusty side up. Put generous lumps of butter around the cooking rosti. Fry this side until crusty underneath too.

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We made this the day that Ottolenghi Flavour arrived in the post as we had all the ingredients and were feeling enthusiastic! We haven’t tried too many dishes since then but we will. Just when we think we’ve tasted pretty much every flavour combination Yotam and his pals remind us that we haven’t, not by a long way!

We can’t remember now what we served this with but think it’s safe to say you could eat a bowlful on their own!

Spicy roast potatoes with tahini and soy – serves 4 as a side

  • 900g roasting potatoes, leave the skin on and cut into 3cm cubes
  • 50g rose harissa 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp black and/or white sesame seed, toasted

FOR THE DRESSING: 

  • 60g tahini (stir well before using)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp mirin (or maple syrup)
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 240°C fan. 

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, rose harissa, garlic and olive oil together with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking tray and spread out, then cover tightly with foil and roast for 15 minutes. 

Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 200°C and roast for another 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring halfway, until the potatoes are cooked and browned. 

Meanwhile, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together with 1 tbsp of water until smooth. 

Transfer the potatoes to a shallow serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Garnish with the chives and sesame seeds. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020)

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We served this tasty potato dish with feather blade steaks braised in port and it would be good with other roast or braised beef dishes.

Potato, Onion & Horseradish Gratin – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g butter
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • a bunch of fresh thyme, remove the leaves from half
  • about 900g of large floury potatoes, sliced very thinly (a mandolin or food processor is best for this)
  • 4 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 300ml beef stock

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Heat the oil and 25g of the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Meanwhile, put the stock into a saucepan with a small bunch of thyme and bring to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a clean pan and keep warm.

Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl with the thyme leaves. Melt the remaining 75g of butter and pour this over the potatoes and season well. Toss with your hands to coat the potatoes in the butter.

When the onions are cooked, stir in the horseradish sauce. Spread a third of the potatoes over the base of an ovenproof dish (20cm square is about right). Spread over half the onions and a third of the beef stock. Cover with another third of the potatoes, followed by the rest of the onions and a final layer of potatoes on top. Pour over the remaining stock, then cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or until golden.

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishing, 2019.)

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Spicy Roasted New Potatoes with Lemon & Herbs

This dish bursts with flavour. We’ve been entertaining in our garden (in small groups and at a distance) and it’s been so nice to cook dishes to feed more than 2! Another triumph from Falastin and great with some grilled meat; this will be done many atime again we suspect. You can prep up to the point before you put the potatoes in the oven. Cook and dress when you’re ready to eat.

Spicy roasted new potatoes with lemon & herbs  – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 7 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 750g baby new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 large lemon, finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp and juice to get 2 tbsp
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seed and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until it starts to colour.

Add the chilli and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the potatoes, sugar, 1 tsp of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir and transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Roast for 40 minutes, tossing once, until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before adding the lemon zest & juice, coriander & dill. Toss gently & serve.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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Pea & New Potato Curry

We’ve cooked pretty much everything from scratch since lockdown but tonight we treated ourselves to a naan bread from the local takeaway. Every evening they fire up the tandoor and we get the most delicious smells in our back garden. This is an easy curry which is perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: a local Lager was our choice tonight, from the White Gypsey Brewery in Tipperary. Their Munich Lager is light and fresh but with a real character and personality.

Pea & new potato curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp Madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 750g new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 500ml natural yoghurt, full-fat so less likely to split
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped, but kept separate
  • 200-300ml veg stock
  • 300g frozen peas
  • lime wedges and naan breads, to serve

Before you start, put the potatoes in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender – they’ll continue to cook in the curry. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes over a gentle heat. Add the chillies, ginger and spices, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the potatoes and lime juice and stir to coat in the spices.

Add the yoghurt, coriander stalks and stock. Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce reduced (we put the lid on for a few minutes at the end as the sauce was reduced enough). Keep the temperature low as the yoghurt can easily split. Stir through the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled over and lime wedges and naan breads on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spiced Haddock with Bombay PotatoesThis is really simple but full of fresh and spicy flavours. Great for a weeknight as it only takes 30 minutes to cook.

Wine Suggestion: matched with a perrenial favourite, the ALLO by Quinta Soahleiro from northern Portugal. Enough fruit for the spices and complimentary texture and vibrancy.

Smoked haddock with Bombay potatoes – serves 2

  • 2 thick skinless haddock fillets
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • groundnut oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE POTATOES:

  • 500g waxy potatoes, diced (peel if you prefer)
  • sunflower oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 100g cherry tomatoes

Boil the potatoes in salty water until just cooked, then drain well.

Put the haddock in a dish. Mix the curry powder, groundnut oil and turmeric together with a good pinch of salt. Rub all over the fish and leave for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Gently cook the shallots until softened then add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Fry until fragrant, then stir in the turmeric and potatoes. Stir to heat through and coat in the spices, then add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down. Season with salt. Stir in half the coriander.

Grill the haddock for a couple of minutes on each side until just cooked, it will flake easily with a fork. Divide the potatoes between two plates and gently place the haddock on top. Scatter with the remaining coriander and serve with a lemon wedge.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2013.)

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Smoked Haddock & Hollandaise Bake with Dill & Caper Fried Potatoes

We love hollandaise but very rarely make it. This is going to change now we know how to do this cheat’s version. It can be adapted very easily for Béarnaise sauce for steak by adding some fresh tarragon. It’s a revelation!

Wine Suggestion: matching milder haddock and the creamy hollandaise requires a delicate touch and we’d suggest a white with a touch of oak, but not too much. The easiest choice is a Chardonnay which we duly went for; a Château de Beauregard Saint-Véran. Medium bodied, this is made partially in stainless steel and the other half in oak and has a lovely apple, citrus and brioche flavour and a mineral freshness to balance.

Smoked haddock & hollandaise bake with dill & caper fried potatoes – serves 2

  • 150g baby spinach
  • 2 x 140g smoked haddock fillets (boycott the artificially dyed orange stuff)

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 100ml double cream, plus a bit extra in case you need to rescue the hollandaise
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

FOR THE POTATOES:

  • 500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
  • knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a bit extra
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • small handful of dill, leaves picked
  • 1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges to serve

Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then season with salt, cover with a lid, and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain and leave in the pot to steam dry.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the shallots and fry for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the potatoes and fry for 15 minutes or until crusty and browned.

To make the hollandaise you need to put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk in the cornflour until smooth. Add the cream and the vinegar, and season well. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously, until it resembles a hollandaise sauce (like thin custard). If the sauce looks like it’s going to split or it’s getting too hot, just add another splash of cream and keep whisking. Check the seasoning and add a bit more salt or vinegar if needed.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Heat a splash of oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, season with salt and black pepper. Turn the heat off and spread the spinach across the base of the frying pan. Lay the haddock fillets on top of the spinach, then pour over the hollandaise sauce. Put the pan under the grill for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked (it should flake easily) and the sauce is browned.

Toss the capers, dill and lemon zest over the cooked potatoes. Serve the potatoes with the fish and put the lemon wedges on the plates to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Best-ever Oven Chips

We don’t really like to deep fry at home and so only really have chips in restaurants. But at last Barney Desmazery, from BBC GoodFood, has come up with a recipe for oven chips that actually works! We might have to cook steak now at the weekend to celebrate.

Best-ever Oven Chips – serves 4

  • 1kg large Maris Piper potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp white or malt vinegar
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp cornflour or potato flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • small pinch of cayenne pepper

Cut the potato into chip shapes (you can cut of the round ends and keep them all oblong and tidy but we didn’t bother).

Put the chips into a pan of cold water with the vinegar added and bring to the boil. Simmer for 6-8 minutes or until just cooked and tender, then drain very carefully so they don’t break up. Leave to cool completely (you can now put them in the fridge for a day or two until you need them).

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 9.

Pour the oil into a heavy baking tray or shallow roasting tin and put into the oven to heat.

Mix the flours with the baking powder, cayenne and some salt in a shallow dish. Gently toss the chips in the mixture to coat. Remove the pan from the oven and lay the chips in a single layer. Gently turn the chips over to coat in the fat, then roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chips again, then roast for another 10 minutes. Turn once more and cook for a final 10 minutes or until crisp and a deep golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Goose fat roasties

A seasonally appropriate side dish. Our advice is to make more than you think you could ever need!

Perfect Roasties – serves 8

  • 2kg roasting potatoes e.g. Maris Pipers or Roosters
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 5 tbsp goose fat
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil

Cut the potatoes into evenly sized chunks – a big potato should be quartered.

Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water and boil for 5 minutes, then drain really well.

Return the potatoes to the pan and scatter over the flour and a little salt. Cover with the lid and shake the pan a few times to coat the potatoes in the flour and rough up the edges.

Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Put the goose fat and oil in a large roasting tin and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Tip in the potatoes and roll them around to coat them in the hot fat. Cook for half an hour, turning once, then turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until crispy. Season with some more salt before serving.

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Spicy potatoes

We loved these Indian spiced potatoes and they were great for bulking out some leftover saag paneer that definitely would not have satisfied our hungry bellies.

Spicy Potatoes – serves 4

  • 800g potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 140g frozen peas

Cover the potatoes in cold salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins or until just tender, then drain and allow to steam dry for a few mins.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the spices for a minute until fragrant. Throw in the potatoes and toss well so they are coated in the spices. Gently fry for 5-10 mins until golden, then add peas, mix well and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Season well before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Friday Night Tartiflette

Reblochon season begins in May so it’s time to indulge in a Tartiflette. If you want to try a sophisticated version then we recommend the Chicken Tartiflette we posted this time last year but it does take a bit of time and effort. This one is much quicker and almost as tasty.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest an oaked Chardonnay that has a good balance between fruit and texture, but not too tropical or oily. We quite often go for the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch, or one of the Javillier Bourgogne Blancs as we have good access to these and they over-deliver in quality, but there are many other options you could choose.

Tartiflette – serves 4

  • 500g new potatoes, sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 200g rindless streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 100g cheddar or gruyere, grated
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • 200ml cream
  • 200g Reblochon cheese, sliced into thin wedges

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Cook the potato slices in boiling salted water until tender – start checking after 10 minutes, then drain.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon bits until light brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Cook the onion in the bacon fat for a few minutes until softened then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Spread the cooked potatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Scatter over the onion and garlic, then the cheddar cheese, thyme and bacon. Pour over the cream, season, and top with the slices of Reblochon.

Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until browned and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad.

 

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Wild Garlic Mash

Wild garlic has a short season in April and most years we make all kinds of things with it. This April we only managed some mashed potato – but very delicious mashed potato it was!

Wild Garlic Mash- serves 2 generously

  • 700g floury potatoes
  • 25-50g butter
  • 25g wild garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100ml double cream

Peel the potatoes and cut into same-sized chunks. Boil until completely tender.

Dry the potatoes off in the hot pan, then mash until smooth.

Meanwhile, melt a generous slab of butter in a small frying pan. Add the wild garlic and cook for a minute or two until softened. Pour the melted butter and wild garlic into the mashed potatoes.

Pour the cream into the same frying pan and bring to a bubble, then pour into the potatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground white pepper, then beat the mash with a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy.

 

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Spicy Syrian Potatoes

These spicy Syrian potatoes are really delicious and we’re going to be cooking them with lots of dishes. A great alternative to roast potatoes.

Spicy Syrian Potatoes (Batata Harra) – serves 4

  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm cubes
  • olive oil, for roasting
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • a bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Roast the potatoes with olive oil and salt for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, quickly fry the garlic, chillies and half the coriander. When the potatoes are ready, mix the fried ingredients with the potatoes, ground Aleppo pepper and the rest of the coriander.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, Trapeze, 2017.)

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Dill potatoes

We’re always banging on about food waste but can honestly say that at least half the recipes we try, are chosen solely on the basis that they use an ingredient left over from another dish. This is precisely how we came to try this potato dish from Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford’s beautiful book, Samarkand. Dill is one of the herbs we find most difficult to use up and it’s also one we haven’t had a lot of success growing ourselves. Never again will we shy away from recipes using fresh dill, instead we will look forward to melting potatoes with dill the following day.

Melting Potatoes with Dill – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 500g waxy potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1cm slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • a small handful of dill fronds, chopped

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions very slowly until soft and golden. Add the potato slices and garlic and stir into the buttery onions. Season well with salt and cover with a lid.

Cook the potatoes over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. Stir through the peppercorns and a handful of fresh dill before serving.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

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Fennel & Potato Gratin

Fennel makes a great addition to a classic dauphinoise. We served with chargrilled steak and spinach but it would also be great with venison.

Fennel Dauphinoise – serves 2

  • 225g medium potatoes, very thinly sliced (a mandolin works best for this)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced (reserve the fronds)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 75ml whole milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • butter

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the potatoes, fennel and garlic in a medium non-stick pan. Pour in the milk and cream, season well and simmer gently, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the potatoes are just tender.

Divide the mixture between 2 small (about 150ml) buttered ramekins and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and tender when pierced with a knife. Snip the fennel fronds over before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chicken Tartiflette

Reblochon cheese from the Alps arrives in the cheese shops from May and reminds us to make tartiflette, the famous dish from France’s Haute-Savoie region made with cheese, bacon, potatoes and onions.  This version also has chicken and kale and it needs no accompaniment. It makes a hefty portion but it’s hard not to go back for more.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest finding a white from the Jura, usually made from Savagnin, Chardonnay, or a blend of the two. Even better try to find a Vin Jaune, which is aged in oak under a Voile, similar to the Flor of sherry, and with similar characteristics. We had a beautiful Côtes du Jura, the Cuvée de Garde by Anne & Jean-François Ganevat. An equal blend of the two grapes and held under voile for 48 months (not long enough to classify as a Vin Jaune) which allowed the fruit to sing alongside the nutty, voile aromas.

Chicken tartiflette – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium chicken, about 1.5kg, jointed into 8 pieces (we used 8 chicken thighs)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 200ml white wine
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

FOR THE TARTIFLETTE:

  • 1kg waxy potatoes, like Charlotte, sliced 1cm thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300ml double cream
  • 400g curly kale, blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and roughly chopped (discard any thick stalks)
  • 400g Reblochon cheese, broken or cut into pieces

Start by cooking the chicken. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and the chicken pieces – skin side down to start. Cook until browned all over, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan then add the onion and garlic and sweat until the onion has softened. Add the white wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a very gentle simmer (you might need to transfer to a large pot to fit it all in).

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and cook very gently until just cooked – about 10 minutes for the breasts. Remove any breast pieces from the pan with some of the broth and leave to cool in the broth. Continue to cook the leg meat for another 30 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool in the broth.

When cooled take the chicken out of the broth, remove the skin and bones and cut into large pieces. Strain the broth and reserve for later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Simmer the potato slices in boiling, salted water until almost tender, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the bacon lardons and cook until coloured, then remove from the pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, then stir in the garlic. Add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cream with 200ml of the reserved strained chicken braising liquid and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat and season.

Fold the chicken and bacon through the cream mixture, along with the kale, 300g of the cheese and the potatoes. Pour into a large baking dish and top with the remaining 100g of cheese, then bake until golden brown (about 20 to 30 minutes).

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Potato Pie with Beaufort Cheese

What can we tell you about this pie? Well first of all it doesn’t look remotely like the picture in the book and there were a few moments of panic when the cream started to run out the sides. Despite our wholly inadequate pastry skills and some last minute patching to stop the leaks, it tasted pretty good and didn’t look half as bad when it came out of the oven as it did going in. If you have a similar leak we advise remaining calm and sticking some pastry over the hole – pronto!

If you have trouble finding Beaufort,  Gruyere is a good substitute. Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion:  an oaked white with a good freshness and texture is the best match for both the cheese and pastry. If you can find a white from Jura or Savoie you’re in for a treat but otherwise there are plenty of options. For something a little different we tried both the Sartarelli Balciana Verdicchio from the Marche in Italy and the Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva from the Melgaço in Portugal and had a great match with both.

Potato pie with Beaufort cheese – serves 4 

  • 500g medium-sized waxy potatoes – we used Charlotte
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly bruised
  • 25g-30g butter
  • 375g ready-made puff pastry in 2 sheets
  • 75g Beaufort cheese, very thinly sliced (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • ½ tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg beaten, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Steam the potatoes until tender, then cool and peel. Slice moderately thickly and set aside.

Put the cream into a small saucepan with the garlic and bring to the boil, then take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse.

Lightly smear a baking sheet with some of the butter. Roll out 1 pastry sheet thinly (about 2-3mm) and lay onto the baking sheet. Mark a circle on the pastry about 20cm in diameter. Cover the circle with half of the potatoes, arranging in a slightly overlapping layer. Season with salt and pepper then cover with half the cheese and thyme leaves, adding a few flecks of butter. Repeat these layers, then brush the pastry edges with beaten egg.

Roll out the other sheet and place over the filling. Clamp down the edges with your fingers and either trim to a round or if it’s easier fold in the extra pastry to create a thicker edge.

Brush the pastry all over with the egg and decorate with a fork (the decorating was beyond us and may have caused the hole so skip this step if you like). Make a hole in the centre of the pie about 5mm in diameter. Remove the garlic from the cream, then slowly pour into the pie using a small funnel. Do this slowly and allow the cream to settle before adding more. Stop when no more will fit – you might have a bit left over.

Put the pie into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Continue to bake for a further 20 minutes – cover loosely with foil if the pastry browns too quickly.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving in wedges with some dressed salad leaves.

(Original recipe from The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson, Quadrille Publishing Ltd, 2012.)

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