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01/07/2019

~ Buttery-Rich & Boursin-Cheesy Whipped Potatoes ~

IMG_7291Mashed, smashed or whipped potatoes, made from Russets, reds or golds, skins on or skins off, baked in the oven, boiled on the stovetop or cooked in the microwave -- a case can be made, and a recipe developed, for each and every scenario, and, as long as the end justifies the means, the basic machinations for potato perfection is, for the most part, personal.  Truth told, while I like some versions better than others, and, with the exception of one experience (where the gal unforgivably served unpalatably "soupy potatoes" made with chicken stock in place of cream, to cut back on fat, with a consistency that bastardized the word purée), I've never eaten mashed potatoes I didn't like -- in the end, salt, pepper, a pat of butter or some gravy can fix anything.

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d27640d2970c~ I Love My Mom's Old-Fashioned All-Beef Meatloaf ~, and, as we all know, like 'burgers-and-fries and steak-and-baked, meatloaf-and-mashed go hand-in-hand.  When mashing, smashing or whipping potatoes, everyone knows a goodly amount of soft or melted butter is a must.  For creaminess, some add warm cream or milk, others add buttermilk or sour cream.  Past that, common additions include:  bits of onion or garlic, bacon, and/or shredded cheddar or cream cheese.

Like cream cheese in your mashed potatoes?  

6a0120a8551282970b014e6067cfa0970cBoursin is classified as a "specialty" cheese, but, I classify it as "party cheese" -- serve it at a party with crackers or toasts and people flock to it.  This cow's milk cheese has a creamy, buttery texture and a full flavor, similar to cream cheese, which makes it perfect to serve with wine or cocktails.  The Boursin brand is available in five flavors, (Garlic & Fine Herbs is my favorite). Whichever one you choose, there are two constants in each variety of Boursin:  garlic and peppercorns.  

Boursin was the creation of François Boursin in 1957, in Normandy.  It was "his take" on the French tradition of serving cheese with an assortment of minced, fresh herbs, which guests sprinkled atop the cheese to suit their own personal palate.  Here's one last bit of trivia about Boursin: When you are purchasing Boursin, if the package does not say "all natural Gournay cheese on it", it is not authentic Boursin.  It seems that "Gournay" is the word François Boursin picked (naming it after the town he grew up in) when he was required to declare its origin to customs officials.  The Boursin brand was first advertised on television in France and Britain using the slogan, "Du pain, du vin, du Boursin", meaning, "some bread, some wine, some Boursin".

You're gonna love Boursin in your mashed potatoes.

IMG_72372  pounds small, "baby" red potatoes, as evenly-sized as possible, cut in half

1  tablespoon sea salt, for seasoning the water

1  stick salted butter, at room temperature

3/4  cup cream

1/2  teaspoon dehydrated, minced onion

1/2  teaspoon dehydrated, minced garlic

1/2  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  5-ounce wheel garlic-and-fine-herb-flavored Boursin cheese, cut into pieces, at room temperature, softened (Note:  Homemade Boursin is super-easy to make -- check out my copycat recipe -- softened butter & cream cheese, herbs & seasonings + 5 minutes.)

IMG_7236 IMG_7236 IMG_7236 IMG_7236~Step 1.  Remove the Boursin from the refrigerator.  Open the package and cut it into wedges.  Set it aside to soften, while proceeding with recipe as directed below:

IMG_7242 IMG_7242 IMG_7242 IMG_7242 IMG_7242 IMG_7242 IMG_7242~Step 2.  Slice potatoes in half and place in a wide-bottomed 4-quart stockpot as you work.  Cover with 2-quarts cold water and add 1 tablespoon sea salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Adjust heat to a gentle, steady simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender through to their centers, 16-18 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a colander to thoroughly drain.  Return steaming hot potatoes to still hot stockpot and return to still warm stovetop.  Add the Boursin, cover the pot and wait about 5 minutes.

IMG_7247 IMG_7247Step 3.  While the potatoes are simmering, place cream, butter, minced garlic, minced onion, salt and pepper in a 1-cup measuring container.  Place in microwave to warm up gently, until butter has melted.  Remove from microwave and set aside.

IMG_7270 IMG_7270 IMG_7270 IMG_7270 IMG_7270~Step 4.  Remove potatoes from stovetop and uncover pot.  On medium speed of hand-held electric mixer, incorporate the Boursin and half the butter/cream mixture.  Add the second half of the butter/cream mixture and gradually increase mixer speed to high, whipping the potatoes while scraping down the sides of the pot with a large rubber spatula until smooth and creamy (except for the pretty chards of red potato skins), about 1-2 minutes.

Smashed, mashed or whipped, try a bit of Boursin next-time:

IMG_7290Buttery-Rich & Boursin-Cheesy Whipped Potatoes:  Recipe yields about 6 cups whipped potatoes.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 4-quart wide-bottom stockpot w/lid; colander; 1-cup measuring container; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d0dfb3b0970cCook's Note:  Lots of folks add cheddar cheese to mashed or smashed potatoes.  It's a well-documented fact that "everthing tastes betta with chedda".  That said, if you've never tasted cheddar potatoes with dried mint flakes added to them, I implore to take a page out of my playbook.  Don't roll your eyes.  I've served these potatoes to a couple of schooled restaurant chefs who have changed their menus to serve "Mel's potatoes" with lamb or lamb chops. You gotta trust me on this one. I didn't invent the pairing of potatoes, cheese and mint.  My Eastern European ancestors did that for me. Where my people came from, parts of Russia and the now surrounding countries, the climate was cold and the growing season was short.  Along with chives, dill and parsley, mint was a hearty herb that grew like a weed.  It was the first to come to life in the Spring, but, it was the last to die in the Winter.  Click here to check out my recipe for ~ Creamy Smashed Cheddar 'n Mint Gold Potatoes ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

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