Seven chef tricks (and several tips) to make a different mashed potatoes for your Christmas menu -!

Cheap, simple and infallible. It is rare to find someone who does not like mashed potatoes, an inexpensive luxury that can act as garnish for dozens of Christmas recipes – and outside of Christmas, of course -. It suits roast meats, but also any type of grill; not to mention fish dishes and even for our starters – let’s give the octopus a spin and serve it over puree – and for our vegetables.

Few ingredients (hardly salt, water and potato) but many versions, almost as many as there are houses in which this simple dressing is made and for which today we bring you some suggestions from professional chefs so you can take the mash to a higher rung.

What kind of potato to use? Old potato or new potato? How to start cooking? Just water … or something else? What texture do we want? These and other questions, as well as new ways to revitalize it, are the tips that we put on the table today so that, as always, the puree of potatoes, although it is closer to the British mashed potatoes , raise the admiration of your diners.

How to make garnish hasselback potatoes

The type of potato Old or new? To cook or to fry? Kennebec, monalisa, sour …? The world of potatoes is a little unknown in our kitchens where, as a general rule, we do not usually pay attention to the variety we buy and simply, especially if they come bagged, we are only guided by what the manufacturer says: gourmet, to fry or to cook.

It is not a mistake, or not a serious one, because the potato is so kind that it supports practically everything, but if we want to take the mashed potatoes to a higher step we also have to look at the type of potato we will use.

“We in the restaurant use sour potato or monalisa potato “, explains Pedro González, chef of the Madrid restaurant Candela, a contemporary food house with many stews , spoon dishes and recipes with a lot of depth. “For the purees you have to look for potatoes that are more floury and softer, because when they lose the water they have more unctuousness”, he reveals.

” They must be floury potatoes, with a lot of starch, like a kennebec “, also adds Víctor Conus, chef at the Vigo restaurant La Mesa de Conus, where he prepares Mediterranean and Andalusian cuisine but with Galician products, the result of his culinary education .

It is the same as Guillermo Salazar, Sevillian chef of the Madrid restaurant Casa Orellana, a promising food house in the Salesas neighborhood, which is also characterized by having made traditionalism coexist with those Andalusian touches. “You have to look for an old potato, in our case of the sour variety, because it also absorbs more butter “, he indicates.

Cutting and cooking Little complaint is the potato , but sublimating it takes a bit more science and that, even for the puree – taking into account that later we are going to crush it or grind it -, it matters. “It depends on how you want to make the puree. If you want to make a creamy you will have to drain the potato more after cooking, if it is only for a puree, you can leave some water, “says Conus, leaving another clue.

“We wash the potato, peel it and then cut it into cakes and cook it from cold in water and salt”, he adds. Why from cold? ” If we cook the potato from hot, it will take part of that water, and we are not interested because we want it to keep a certain texture,” he says.

Guillermo Salazar prefers to cook it whole. “Washed and peeled, with a good handful of salt, and we remove it when it is about to be undone . We strain and in the same pot we dry the potato over low heat, so that it loses any remaining water, we don’t want to take it to the puree “, he warns.

The crushed or crushed

Mashed potato is a vast world in which we can find aligot (made with cheese), a parmentier (with cream or butter; or both) or the simple potato puree, where the texture is very important and that is why we have to balance with fats, but also to take into account what to crush it with.

“We make a parmentier, which has to be creamy, that’s why we work with the thermomix, where we have the puree between four and seven minutes already salty and not much speed, with the pepper and the butter, so that it has this texture “, says Pedro González. As you can see, the time and speed matters n so that the result is ideal.

“For the creamy we need creaminess, so we resort to the thermomix and a generous proportion of butter, but For the traditional puree, just a fork and add the butter, yes, in ointment, not hot or melted “, clarifies Víctor Conus.

Iberian cheek with creamy potato, from La Mesa de Conus.

A theory that Guillermo Salazar agrees with. “When we have the dry potato, we add cold butter and we crush it with the rod. It has to be cold because it emulsifies more. If we pour it melted, it does not produce as much that emulsion “, he emphasizes, which is what he is looking for so that it has creaminess and body.

In all three cases the chefs consider that it should not be liquid and that The potato should not be washed either once it is cut. “We need that starch, that starch that the potato has, which is going to be the one that helps us to give the puree texture,” he points out Guillermo Salazar.

The chef’s touches to take the puree to a higher rung

Víctor Conus, from La Mesa of Conus; Guillermo Salazar, from Casa Orellana, and Pedro González, from Candela.

Using broths, different infused oils, spices, some mushrooms or adding other vegetables to the puree are some of the clues that they leave us so that your chickens, meats, fish and, ultimately, any recipe, improve.

Broth in cooking. “We cook the potato with a little fish broth, so it takes on all that flavor. Besides, it is not a liquid broth, but it has some density, so our parmentier -which has cream and butter- is more unctuous “, says Pedro González, who gives us quantities to emulate: 1kg of potato, 100 g of liquid cream, 50 g of butter and 51 g of homemade fish broth. A dynamic that we could emulate for a puree that accompanies a meat, for example, with a vegetable broth or a chicken broth when cooking. “We don’t need to make a very powerful broth. Just a poultry carcass, a carrot and a leek and cook them for half an hour,” he clarifies. Monitor the emulsion. “It is better to add the cream and butter little by little, to see what texture we have, because then we can always correct”, considers Guillermo Salazar, who usually add a pinch of nutmeg and pepper to the puree, in addition to resorting to a liquid cream not too heavy, only the 18% fat.

A fine and linked parmentier, together with a pumpkin puree, can very well balance the salty and toasted touch of the grilled octopus, as in the case of Candela.

Truffle the puree. “It goes well with magret and duck confits, but also for grilled Iberian products, and it would be enough with adding a little truffle in the Thermomix and then grate out a pinch, so that it looks and smells fresh “, warns the chef himself. Infused oils. ” Fish purees need fewer seasonings because they can outshine fish, but those that are for meat accepts more seasoning. We can add a pinch of thyme, oregano, or cumin in the Thermomix or, directly, make a thyme oil the day before [guardamos varias ramitas frescas en una aceitera] and the next day we bind the parmentier with the oil, instead of with butter, “he explains. Something that we could also do with a garlic sauce with a touch of paprika, similar to what is used to dress potatoes revolconas. Direct to the Paladar Newsletter Subscribe to receive our recipes, nutrition information and gastronomy news every day.

Give it fun with the oven. It is not necessary to limit yourself to boiling the potatoes in water and in a casserole. The oven can come to the rescue for mashed potatoes, just as it is often done with British mashed potatoes . “We roast some potatoes cut in half in the oven, with aromatic herbs and a touch of oil, and then we mash them with butter. It’s simple and it also comes out very rich and different “, explains Víctor Conus. Use the sauce. “Anchor some vegetables with a little butter and oil, whether they are leek or onion, as if we were going to raise a stew and grind it also with the puree, which gives it a lot of flavor “, considers the same chef. Play with other vegetables. “Now we make a puree with Jerusalem artichoke, celeriac and parsnip, because it is the season,” says Guillermo Salazar, who advises us to use different mixtures of vegetables that go well for these preparations. “They are very wintery and have a lot of sugar, so they are perfect for Christmas roasts ,” he says. Víctor Conus is of the same opinion, who recommends “using pumpkin also for these purees, because it gives them a very rich sweet touch and makes them different”, he affirms. A statement of intent to carry your mashed potatoes (or your parmentier, or your aligot) one step further and give a twist to a simple garnish that everyone likes.

More Christmas recipes At Directo al Paladar we love these holidays and we have thousands of recipes for you to be sure in your Christmas meals.

Do not miss our special with the 215 top Christmas recipes and 16 special menus. And if you need ideas for specific dishes , here is a good starting point:

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