Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Quick, Easy, and Delicious Homestyle Mash

Rustic Mashed Potatos with Caramelized Onions

Description: Garlic and Caramelized Onions make this textured and tasty spin on mashed potatos unbelievably delicious!

For the mash:
1.  In a large pot, boil potatos with the salt and garlic.  Use a pot large enough to cover the potatos and garlic with sufficient water so they have plenty of room to float around as they cook.  I used a six quart stock pot which I filled with water to the five quart line.  Don't wait for the water to boil before inserting the potatos, salt and garlic.  Instead put them in before you put the pot on the burner, turn heat to the maximum and leave them alone to cook.  At the thirty minute mark, pierce the potatos with the tip of a sharp knife or a fork to test whether they are softening properly.  Different potatos cook faster than others.  You don't want them splitting and becoming mush in the pan.  They should be very tender but still holding together.  As soon as you note that the potatos are tender, turn off the heat and leave the potatos in the water until you are ready to mash them.  (You want to wait to mash them shortly before serving so that they stay nice and hot for the table.)
2.  Drain the bulk of the water from the pot, reserving 1 cup of the liquid to mash in with the potatos.  If you wish to peel off the skin, this is the time to do it.  Do this carefully as the potatos will be very hot to the touch.  If you want to keep the skin on, like I did, then just put the potatos with the boiled garlic cloves and the reserved water in a large bowl for mashing.  
Paprika&Time 2013
3.  Use a potato masher to break up the potatos, mashing in the garlic cloves at the same time.  With other mash potato recipes you're looking for a creamy consistency, not with these.  You want it to be somewhat chunky.  Since the potatos will be soft, mashing them by hand will be a cinch and any small chunks will be tender and pleasant.  You can use an ordinary potato masher for this, though I use my Joseph Joseph masher, which has a nice spring action to make pressing down on whole potatos easy.  Because of its multiple slots, it mashes evenly.  When you've broken up the potatos and just before they are completely mashed, put in the softened butter, mix it around with the potatos and mash again.  If you're not quite ready to serve, cover the mashed potatos with a dish on the bowl to keep them warm and moist.
For the caramelized onions:
People will tell you that you can caremalize onions in a pan.  I don't agree.  In the pan they tend to loose too much moisture and become tough and unpleasant.  They don't taste like candy, which is the whole point.  To get ideal results, I prepare caremalized onions by cooking the thin strips of onion as if I were making French Onion Soup.  (I'll give you that recipe another day, when I'm inclined to make it.)
I use a small crockery pot I have from Emile Henry (it's 1.8 liters or 2 quarts, depending on how you measure), but you can use any small pot (a clay pot, if you have it) with a lid.
1.  Melt the butter with the onions, leaving the lid on and heating at a medium-high heat.  Try to keep the lid on for most of the duration of the cooking process, so that the steam keeps the onions soft as they cook in butter, but do check them a couple of times during the process to be sure they are turning the right shade of rich caramel, without burning.  
2. You may want to use a wooden spoon to stir the onions around a bit, but resist the temptation to mess with them too much.  The less you do, the better they turn out.  Once they've turned from clear to a mix of golden and maple, they are ready.  Don't let them burn or they'll become bitter, but some of them will be darker than others and that's just right.  You can see from the picture that a few of mine came out nearly coffee in color, but they didn't burn and those bits tasted wonderful, like molasses.  I cook the onions right along side with the potatos as they take just about as much time to be ready.  If you note that the butter is bubbling too much when you lift the lid for a peek and a stir, then feel free to turn the heat down a bit so they don't burn as you do other things.  Reduce to medium heat if you have to, but don't put them on low as the higher heat is what turns them into candy.  
3. They are a garnish, so you will want to wait to place them over the mash as you prepare the plates.  Keep them in the pot, swimming in the clarified butter produced, until you are ready to take them out with a fork and decorate your mash with them, but remove the pot from the heat source.    
NOTE:  There's a good amount of clarified butter remaining, but resist the urge to pour this over the mash and don't serve the onions swimming in it.  It will make the whole thing greasy and will take away from the pleasure of the onions themselves.  I don't like to waste anything though, so I used the clarified butter from this recipe as the melted butter to pour over my Lazy-Day Whole Wheat Biscuits when they came out of the oven.  That worked great, as it gave a nice sheen to the biscuit crust and added a bit of the oniony buttery flavor to them.  
I made these as a side for my Southern Style Chicken Fried Steak with Creamy Gravy, but it's a nice side dish for any main.  
Serve and Enjoy!  Believe me, you'll want second helpings.
Easy Metric Conversions
2 Pounds Potatos = 1 Kilo Potatos
1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
1/2 cup butter = 125 grams butter
2 cups of sliced onions = 320 grams
Budget Factor 

It's always good to know what a plate costs you to make.  Restaurants keep this in mind, why shouldn't we?  


These are only estimates for reference.  Your local ingredient costs may vary.  Currency converted at DKK5.00 to the Dollar and DKK7.50 to the Euro.

Other stuff you may want to know:

Paprika&Time 2013
 I got my Joseph Joseph potato masher from, which has reasonable shipping rates to Denmark (many items ship Free with Super Saver Discount and those are the generally the ones I choose.)  I later saw it for sale on, which has a wonderful selection of items at incredible discounts, updated from week to week.  Their Member Offers (Medlemstilbud) are sometimes irresistible good deals, and I keep an eye out for their sales when I know I'd like to have something.  Becoming a member requires a small fee, but you make it up quickly with the savings and you're able to use your card to get additional Plus Points when you shop at any Coop store like SuperBrugsen, Dagli'Brugsen, Kvickly, and LokalBrugsen.  You can use the Plus Points to pay for items you want from their site, instead of cash.  You don't have to become a member to shop on their site.  You can take advantage of their other sales instead, which are also very good prices.  

I love a good deal, and don't like to pay full price for anything unless I absolutely have to.  If you can suggest other sites you've come across which offer bargains, let me know.  I'll definitely check them out.

 As far as this masher is concerned, I can't decide which I like better: the spring action on this thing or these wonderfully designed slots.  Actually, I think it's both.  It's a sturdy piece of equipment, so far I've had no trouble with it, and it looks nice too!

You certainly don't need to have this kind of masher.  It's one of those things which are very nice to have, but you can do without.  With other recipes for mashed potatos you will want to use a blender to create a smooth creamy texture.  If you're in the habit of doing this, as I am for other recipes, DON'T do it for this one.  That's why they're called "Rustic" mash.  It really is better just mashed by hand.

Paprika & Time 2013

Paprika & Time 2013
I got my Emile Henry clay pot from too, but in Denmark you can buy a wide selection of Emile Henry Products from which has a very nice selection of their products.  Not every budget stretches that far.  In fact, my own doesn't, and these were bought as special birthday gifts, but having a good sturdy clay pot (of any kind) in the house is something to consider.  There's a quality in fired clay that makes certain foods cook better, especially ones which need to soften over time.  Making beans and chick peas in clay pots yields amazing results.   

The truth is that, when you want to or need to, you can make great food with the most basic of cooking equipment.  In my grandmother's house we had only what was absolutely necessary.  It was very rustic equipment and sometimes it took a little extra time and effort to prepare the ingredients, but the food was still delightful and we had the time and leisure to sit at the kitchen table sharing the load of the preparation along with stories, jokes, and traditional songs.  Those memories are among the happiest in my life, and I feel fortunate that I could spend my childhood splitting peas and sifting flour through a strainer in the company of those indomitable women.

Don't let the lack of a clay pot, or any equipment I mention, keep you from making this or other great recipes.  Improvise, prepare, and savour!
Another Great Recipe from:

Did you make it?  Did you enjoy it? Did you improve on it?  I'm eager to hear whether you found this dish as tasty as we did.  Please comment below with any remarks, critiques, or alternative suggestions you have to make this recipe even better!


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