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Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Warm Spices

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Serves 6-8

Yields about 7 cups

  • To learn more, read:
    Spice Up Your Cooking
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 70

These potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to Six-Spice Braised Short Ribs.

  • 2-1/2 to 3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and quartered
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. corn oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. yellow split peas
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, cut 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Coleman’s mustard powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk; more if needed
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add cold water cover by at least an inch, 1 tsp. salt, and bring water to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium to maintain a steady (not raging) boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through but don’t fall apart when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the corn oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the split peas and cook just until they start to turn golden brown (watch carefully: split peas can quickly go from golden brown to dark brown to burned), about 3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the butter, onion, and turmeric and cook until the onion is transparent, 4 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the honey and mustard powder until smooth. Stir in the milk and cream and then add this mixture to the onions and spices. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit on the burner.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them and return them to their saucepan over medium heat. Dry the potatoes, shaking the pan and stirring with a rubber spatula, until they look floury and leave a light film on the bottom of the pan. Put the dry potatoes through a ricer or food mill, or mash them with a hand masher until they’re lump-free.

Pour the hot creamy onion mixture into the pan with the warm mashed potatoes. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. If the potatoes seem dry, moisten with a little more milk. Transfer the spiced mashed potatoes to a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 200; Fat (g): fat g 7; Fat Calories (kcal): 60; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 30; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 870; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 15; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Just made this to go with the six-spice braised ribs, and it was wonderful. It's always nice to have a special accompaniment to ribs - I'd been looking for a barley ragout, but this was definitely interesting enough. The flavour was subtle and complex, and many guests commented on how it was so much more than a side-dish - a show-stopper in its own right. I was a little confused about the yellow split peas; they browned fine and were good in the mash, but you did mean the dried ones, right? So of course they weren't fully cooked... my guests thought they were nuts. Not unpleasantly hard, and they added an interesting smoky flavour, but I just wasn't sure I was doing it right. When I checked the 'ingredients' list all I saw was peas... which then told me how to use fresh green peas. :)

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