The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Out of This World Mashed Potatoes

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In honor of Thanksgiving, this is my second blog entry on some tasty side dishes. The TART CRANBERRY DIPPING SAUCE, an Alton Brown recipe that I wrote about in my last blog, is not a grilled or smoked side dish. But instead it substitutes for gravy for turkey or chicken. This next dish, which can be used year round, is also from an Alton Brown recipe. This time was from his Good Eats TV show and is called Out of This World Mashed Potatoes. 3 years ago, I was making what proved to be the best pork roast I’ve ever had and I wanted to make my own mashed potatoes. At first I was put off by the fact the recipe called for the use of a Food Mill, a piece of equipment I did not own. Nor did I intend to own one. As I searched through recipes I found most of the best ones called for the use of a food mill or ricer. So it was back to Alton Brown’s recipe and I bought a food mill. I have never regretted that decision, since the recipe makes the best mashed potatoes I have ever had.

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The ingredients are simple, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, heavy cream, butter, water, salt & water. The picture on the right shows the food mill.

The recipe calls for 6 simple ingredients, plus you will need that Food Mill or Ricer. If you are interested in more information about the Food Mill, refer to the links at the end of this blog entry, The first ingredient is the potatoes, and the choice of potato was new to me at the time: Yukon Golds. Alton Brown felt they were the best type of potato for making mashed potatoes and who am I to argue? In addition to the potatoes you need: Water, heavy cream, butter, salt, & black pepper. The potatoes are peeled and cut into 1” (2.54 cm) cubes. They are placed in a large pan and cold water is added until the level of the water is 1” (2.54 cm) above the top of the potatoes. The water is brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer. The potatoes are cooked until they are fork tender. The potatoes are drained in a colander and the pan is returned to the stove. The butter, heavy cream, salt & black pepper are added into the pan and brought to a simmer.


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The 1” cubes of potatoes are brought to a boil, then simmered until fork tender.

The next step is to process the potato chunks with the food mill or ricer. I use the food mill, which has 3 legs that spread open to allow it to sit on top of the pan while you work. I process the potatoes in 5 or 6 batches using the food mill. The potatoes emerge from the bottom of the food mill looking like strands of spaghetti. I tap the food mill on the top of the pan several times when I am done to dislodge any clinging strands of potato. Then you use a whisk to blend the potatoes with the butter/heavy cream mixture. It doesn’t take too much to blend the ingredients and you don’t want to over work them.


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The potatoes are creamy and moist and have great flavor.

From start to finish I find the entire process takes just over an hour. The potatoes don’t seem to suffer from sitting in the covered pan for 10 or 15 minutes while you finish up other tasks. One thing you should do as soon as you finish mixing the potatoes, is to rinse off the food mill, the whisk and any other utensil with mashed potatoes stuck on it. The potatoes are easily cleaned off the food mill with a little hot water at first, but over time you will start wanting to use a chisel.


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The finished potatoes can be placed on the smoker for an hour to add some smoky flavor to them.

Now I’ve found a neat little trick to holding the potatoes for a longer period of time which also improves their flavor: toss them on the smoker for an hour or so. This of course assumes you are smoking the meat and the potatoes get a free ride. Empty the potatoes into a suitable sized foil pan and put them on the cool end of the smoker for about an hour or so. They will emerge slightly darker in color, light brown as opposed to off-white, and they will taste better. This is great for a complex meal. You get to make the potatoes ahead of time which frees you up to do other things during the last hour.

Give these mashed potatoes a try, you will love them. Be sure to make more than you usually make, because your guests will love them too!

SOME RELATED LINKS:
Here are some links for the mashed potato recipe and the OXO Food Mill

  ALTON BROWN’S OUT OF THIS WORLD MASHED POTATOES Web Video
  OXO GOOD GRIPS FOOD MILL Web Link
  WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND Blog Entry
  THE BEST PORK ROAST I HAVE EVER TASTED Blog Entry

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  ARCHIVE OF BLOGS: 2011
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