Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Potato Makeover!

Good evening everyone! Welcome to the start of Thanksgiving month here at Out Of The Culinary! Our goal for the coming weeks is to feature a few dishes, with a healthy focus, that you can cook up for turkey day to astound and impress your family with your culinary prowess. Some of the dishes will be new developments on standard table staples (such as tonight's recipe) others will be completely unique twists that you may want to debut on the table this holiday season.

Tonight's recipe is a twist on a turkey day tradition - mashed potatoes. While there is certainly nothing wrong with standard mashed potatoes; they are welcome on my Thanksgiving table any day, however, why simply settle for pretty good when you can put a brand new twist on the classic dish and bring a whole new flavor to the table?

The Recipe: Mashed Potato Casserole
Original Recipe Found In: Cooking Light November 2011 Issue

What You'll Need:

1 1/2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (Peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1 1/2 Pounds Baking Potatoes (Peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices)
5 Garlic Cloves (Thinly sliced)
1 1/4 Teaspoons Kosher Salt (Divided)
3/4 Cup 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese (About 6 ounces - softened)
1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (About 2 ounces)
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
4 Green Onions (Thinly sliced)

(This recipe is reason #3,500 why I enjoy my Rotato)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Fill the pan with water until the potatoes are covered by about a 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water. Set the pan on high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the boiling, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until all of the potatoes are tender. This should take about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes through a colander, but be sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water for later use. This is easily accomplished by draining the potatoes over a large bowl and simply dipping a 1/2 cup measuring cup into the water after the potatoes have been properly drained.

Place the potatoes into a large bowl and add the reserved 1/2 cup of liquid. I found that the original recipe called for a larger than needed amount of liquid to be added to the mixture. It seemed after I added the water that the mixture was a little 'soup-like'. The best way to handle this is to simply start by adding 1/4 cup of the water and adding more as necessary. Depending on the type of potato you have and the particular make-up of said potatoes, your mixture could be a little starchier and require more liquid. You want to make the mixture soft and creamy without being overly runny or too sticky.

After you add the water, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the cream cheese to the mixture. Using a potato masher, work and smash the potatoes until all of the lumps have been worked out.

Next, cover a broiler safe baking dish with cooking spray. (A 11 x 7 dish is the ideal size here). Spoon the potato mixture into this dish and place into your 350 degree oven. Bake the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they have been completely cooked through.

Remove the dish from the oven and preheat your broiler. If you do not have a broiler safe dish, increase the heat to 450 degrees in the oven.

In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the potatoes. Broil the dish for about 4 minutes or until the bread crumbs have turned golden brown and the cheese has melted. If you're using the oven method, it will take about 10 to 15 minutes of high heat cooking to reach the desired golden brown finish. Once golden brown, sprinkle the green onions over the top of the dish and serve!

The Results:

Mashed potatoes, welcome to your makeover! It's really that simple, this is the "A-list" of mashed potato dishes. The yukon gold potatoes and baking potatoes combine into a great, creamy burst of flavor. The panko adds a nice touch of crunch to the dish (always enjoyable) and the Parmiginao-Reggiano cheese added a great, mild, cheesy finish to the whole dish. If you're making mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving meal, you may want to consider this unique and delicious dish!

That's all we have for you this evening. Maggie takes to the kitchen tomorrow night with another Thanksgiving side dish. This one will be a big challenge for me, as she is cooking with one of the few ingredients that I really cannot stand. Can Maggie cook up this ingredient in such a fashion to win me over? Find out tomorrow night! Until then,


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