Thursday, 26 January 2017

Spuds You Like

Back to village life in the Auvergne- and it's pretty busy here.
I have joined the Village Cookery Club and went to my first session last week. Goodness me, the standard was high! But the welcome was warm and I learned a lot.

Each session, a group member shares a recipe with the rest- and we all take turns in its preparation.
The main dish we made this time was 'Pommes Dauphiné'- and thus the idea was born for this month's potato- themed blog.

'Pommes Dauphiné' are not to be confused with Potatoes Dauphinoises- which everyone is familiar with. No, these tasty little morsels are deep-fried bites of choux paste and potato. Great for using up leftover mash.
They also freeze well- or can be made the day before you need them and reheated in a hot oven.
This recipe makes at least 60. (Many thanks to Joselyne for the recipe and the demonstration.)

Pommes Dauphine

450g mashed potato (well seasoned and not too sloppy)
75g margarine
3 eggs
180g flour
salt, pepper and oil for frying
Begin by making a choux paste- melt the butter in the seasoned water. When the liquid starts to bubble, take off the heat,  shoot in the flour and work well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Making the choux paste

 Add the eggs one at a time, working them in with a fork, until the mixture is smooth. Next work in your mash- plenty of elbow grease required-

and then leave the paste to firm up (in the fridge for a few hours or the freezer for an hour or so.) As we are in the Auvergne, and temperatures were -10 degrees, it was sufficient to put it out on the windowsill for a short while!

Heat up some sunflower oil and then drop in teaspoons of the mixture.

Fry in batches

Take care not to crowd the pan too much- lift out the potato balls as soon as they are golden and drain on kitchen paper as you fry in batches.

Fry until golden

This week gives us Burns Night too- and we celebrated with our Neeps and a Haggis Parmentier.


I varied the potato topping this year however by adding leeks to make a 'Champ'.
Usually, this potato puree is mixed with spring onions- but I am using leeks as they are in season here.
To make Champ, heat some butter in a saucepan, and add 1 shredded leek. Reduce the heat, add a dash of water and some seasoning and cover with a butter wrapper or piece of cooking paper. Put on the lid of the saucepan and simmer the veg until tender. Drain off any excess water, add 200g per person of cooked potato and some milk and heat. When beginning to bubble, take off the heat and mash the potatoes, incorporating them well with the leeks.

Champ with Leeks
Adjust seasoning, pile on top of your haggis and cook in the oven at 170 degrees, topped with a little cheese if you wish until brown and bubbling.

Another recipe I have gleaned in the short time I have been back is Potato Cocotte.

Potato Cocotte

Peel 1 kg of potatoes and cut into chunks. Slice half a dozen of the pieces with a sharp knife and slide a bay leaf into the slit.

Add a bay leaf
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Chop and fry 1 onion and 300g of bacon lardons until the onion is transparent, add the potatoes and turn them well to absorb the cooking butter.
Place in an ovenproof dish with salt, pepper, nutmeg and some fresh thyme.
Pour over 300ml of hot chicken or vegetable stock.
Cover tightly and cook in the oven for about an hour, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
Dot with butter before serving.

This dish reminds me of Truffade- a traditional Auvergne dish of potato, cheese and bacon.

No truffles are involved in this recipe: it comes from the Occitane word truffa which is what the suspicious Auvergnats called potatoes when they were first brought to the region. Their gnarly, dirty appearance made everyone think they were truffles at first. They soon discovered their mistake.

Image result for wild boar
What? No truffles?

Plenty of other wasy to elevate the humble spud on ths blog by the way- try Marmite Potatoes Boulangere,
Image for Marmite Potatoes Boulangere

Or Aligot

Image for Raclette Potatoes
Or even good old Bubble and Squeak

Just click on the link below the picture to take you to the blogpost.

Image result for potato peel
Time to get peeling!