November 15, 2010

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

A recipe like this reminds me of why I refer to myself as The Pretend Chef. I just think I know what I am doing in the kitchen. If you could be a fly on my wall you would see me throughout the making of a recipe running to the computer to do a quick search to see what this or that should look like or what a certain cooking term means.

Before becoming a stay at home mom the word "blanch" was never in my vocabulary. I recall having to watch a how to video. Sad. I know. It wasn't my mother's fault. It is my own. My mother spent countless hours on her feet standing over pots of homemade sauces or whipping up whatever delicious baked good she was working on for the day. My entire existence. To this day I kick myself for not being a more active participant in her kitchen.

Juggling the Old-Fashioned Meatloaf and this side dish I became a bit overwhelmed especially when I, in a spur of the moment decision, thought to invite the neighbors over for dinner. Mind you, I have cooking anxiety when it comes to preparing anything for others. Mr. Sideline Chef was told to let everyone know it would be ready by 6 p.m. Let's just say I ended up having him contact everyone again and letting them know dinner would be ready around 7 p.m.

Back to why this is a reminder of why I'm The Pretend Chef. The caramelizing of the shallots did happen at one moment. They looked beautiful. I have a bad habit of accidentally turning the wrong burners up in heat all the time. Rather than turning the burner up to boil my water for the potatoes the shallots crisped up nicely and gave off a burning aroma throughout the house. Thankfully they didn't get burnt completely through and had a bit of a soft texture to them. I said a bit. When I laid the caramelized burnt shallots on top of my mashed potatoes and took my first bite the shallots had a saltiness to them and somewhat stuck to my back molars. No one else wanted to try them. I ate them all by myself. I also like my hot dogs burnt... by choice.

If you give these a try I'm sure you'll have the results that are expected. A beautiful pile of caramelized shallots to lay on top of a bed of mashed potatoes. Just remember to watch the burners, you don't want to pull a Pretend Chef move.

*Click the link for yourself to see how these caramelized shallots are meant to look.* and Real Simple, November 2007
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 5 pounds white or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed - I used Yukon gold potatoes.
  • salt and black pepper
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 medium shallots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
And Action:

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and add 2 1/2 tbsp salt. Reduce heat to a simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are simmering, peel and thinly slice the shallots. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them back to the pot. Add the butter, buttermilk, cream, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp black pepper. Mash the potatoes. Fold the shallots into the mashed potatoes (I kept mine separate so people can either have them or not.) before transferring to a serving dish.

The originally recipe also adds a "Make Ahead Note": The potatoes can be made up to 2 hours in advance and kept warm in a double broiler or Crock-Pot. If the potatoes are chilled and then reheated, they will turn dry and pasty.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 358 (40% from fat)
Fat: 16g (sat 9g)
Protein: 6g
Carbohydrate: 48g
Fiber: 7g
Cholesterol: 41mg
Sodium: 164mg


Jeanette said...

I love your honesty and humor. Caramelized shallots sound like a nice topping for mashed sweet potatoes as well.

Pretend Chef said...

Jeanette - Thank you for that compliment! I'm an open book. I'm not afraid to post about my kitchen flops. If I didn't post about them I'd have nothing in my blog to write about, haha! I have more flops than successes, that is, unless I'm heating something up in the microwave.

Karen said...

Caramelized shallots go fast once they're almost done. I've overcooked (burned) them once or twice myself. But they do give such amazing flavor and topping for mashed potatoes is a great idea!

Pretend Chef said...

Karen - I'm happy to know I'm not the only one who has done this. I can guarantee this won't be the last time I do it, haha!

Carolyn said...

Oh man! I do that same thing, turning on the wrong burner. Or turning it up instead of turning it off (Why, oh why, do they put "high" near "off"???).
Glad you were able to make a save out of this. It actually looks really good!

Pretend Chef said...

Carolym - What gets me is the icon for which burner goes to what heating control. They just seem backwards to me.

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