Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pommes Puree

What goes better with juicy chicken than mashed potatoes? I can't think of anything else either. Realizing six Idaho potatoes would yield a tremendous quantity of Pommes Puree, I cut the recipe in half. Well, most of it.

Pommes Puree
adapted from Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook
recipe in it's entirety can be found here
click to print

3 Idaho potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 c heavy cream
6 tbsp butter*
black pepper, freshly ground

Place the potatoes in the large pot and add enough cold water to completely cover them. Add the salt and bring to a boil.

Water and salt added to potatoes, water coming to a boil after 18 minutes.

Cook in the boiling water until they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, discarding the hot water, and when they are just cool enough to handle remove as much of the skins as possible.

In the small pot, combine the heavy cream and butter and bring the mixture to a boil watching closely.

This took less than 4 minutes; when it starts boiling, it's seconds before it's boiling over.

In the meantime, return the potatoes to the large pot and mash them with the potato masher.

Once the cream mixture has come to a boil, pour it in increments into the potatoes and mix well. Add cream. Mash. Add cream. Mix. Do not overwork the potatoes.

When the mixture is creamy and smooth, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Guessing, incremental cream additions should've been more generous with the cream and less frequent. I think all of my mixing and mashing to incorporate each little bit of cream at the beginning resulted in my potatoes being overworked, thus a little gluey. Notice how I was catching on to this even as I was mashing them, at the end dumping in the equivalent of the first three cream additions. Flavor-wise though, they are very good and went exceptionally well with the Chicken Marbella, still able to absorb the main dish juices.

I'll certainly do this again, particularly when I repeat the Chicken Marbella. Next time I'll anticipate how long it takes for the potato water to boil so I can better align the dishes coming together. The chicken had to stand around a little while so I could finish the potatoes.

*Interestingly, there seems to be a discrepancy in the cookbook regarding US and metric units. For instance, it says "6 tbsp/75 g butter". My unsalted butter package says 1 tbsp butter is 14 g, which makes 6 tbsp 84 g. I thought I was using 6 tbsp when I measured 77 g at the time. Pricing below reflects the 77 g I actually used. 

  • potatoes: $2.30
  • cream: $1.99
  • butter: $0.27
Total: $4.56 or $1.52 for each of the three huge servings.