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Easy creamed potatoes

Creamed potatoes

Creamed potatoes

One of our first culinary clashes was over mashed potatoes.
“To be good, they need to be hugely unhealthy with lashings of cream and butter,” Danny announced as he searched the fridge shelves for double cream.
“I like them made with a dash of milk and a large knob of butter.”
“Milk?” His eyes rolled.

We did agree on one point. White pepper is essential. I had always used black pepper but Danny introduced me to the subtleties of white on eggs, swede and potatoes. So we have a small oak  peppermill filled with white peppercorns that sits on the shelf above the cooker.

For ten years we made our own versions of mashed potato. We both used our Rolls Royce Gefu potato press and white pepper but then our paths diverged into widely differing territory. For years I’ve tried unsuccessfully to woo him towards my method. But he has stood firm until this week.

Last night I decided to add a creamed potato topping to a Cottage Pie. I peeled and quartered 450g of potatoes. Simmered the potatoes until they were soft (slightly softer than a boiled spud) and drained them well. Then I roughly mashed them with a wooden spoon added a large splosh of single cream (3 tablespoons) and a walnut sized knob of butter. Then I beat them using the handheld electric whisk. Within a couple of minutes I had perfect, lump free creamed potatoes. I scattered a topping of a tablespoon of grated mature cheddar before browning the top under the grill

Tonight was Fish Pie and I made the creamed potatoes again and jettisoned the cream. All that I added was a small dash of milk (1 tablespoon) and a walnut sized knob of butter, plus the grated cheddar topping.
“This potato topping is wonderful,” chortled D, as he reached for a second helping. “I reckon that it’s even better than last night’s.”

When I admitted that I hadn’t used cream he was astonished.
”I’m finally a convert. Creamed potatoes taste so creamy that they don’t need nearly as much diary fat as mashed potatoes.”

If you are cooking a pie for a special occasion, creamed potatoes are well worth considering as they look and taste much more deluxe than mashed potatoes. D is even thinking about getting a piping bag so he can play with potato and also decorate the individual fish pies that we make for my mum. He has the green light on this as individual potato croquettes are a secret passion. I suspect that these can be frozen in batches for those lazy evenings when even finding the potato peeler is a chore.

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  1. Delia in her Christmas cookery book gives a recipe using equal quantities of celeriac & potato boiled with some garlic & mashed together. I can’t remember but I think she adds cream after mashing. Gorgeous! My 1st introduction to celeriac.

  2. If you beat an egg in before browning in the oven, (either as a pie topping, or as an accompaniment), you get a lovely colour, and crispy top.

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