The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Smashing Potatoes
November 11, 2012, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Food I Make, Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Pioneer Woman is a lovely lady.  I like her cookbooks.  Her food is good.  She has nice cars and a nice lodge.

Ok, truth be told.  I do question her authenticity at times.  Case in point-her smashed potato recipe.  I tried to make it once.  I followed her almost exactly until I got to the point in which I was to take a small boiled potato and smash it in one direction with a potato masher and then turn the masher slightly to mash the potato again all the while creating a lovely pattern in the potato.

It was not a success in my kitchen.

Do you know how long smashing all those little potatoes takes?  Good Lawd almighty.  I thought I was going to croak right there mashing all these danged tiny potatoes in a little pattern.  The potatoes were hot as fire, and they kept sticking to the masher. I had to scrape them off and then mash them again.  Pfft, I say.  Now, tell me how a woman who blogs uncontrollably, has four children, takes so many pictures, makes TV appearances, writes cookbooks, and does all the other PW stuff she does has time for patterns in potatoes?

Exactly.

Fancy mashed are to the right and the rear. Normal people mashed are to the left and front.

There will be no more fancy, schmancy potato patterns in my kitchen, friends.  Round here, we smash our taters like real people-with the back of a knife, or with a scraper, or with a spatula, or even with our fists if we are feeling sassy.

So, how do we prepare real people mashed potatoes?  Let me tell you.  First, find some small whole potatoes.  I’ve used both red and gold, and both types worked fine.  Rinse them well, and boil them in plenty of salted water for around twenty minutes.  They are ready when you can easily stick a knife through them.  While they are boiling, fry some bacon and save some of the drippings.  Drain the potatoes when they are ready and let them cool a minute.  When they are cool enough to handle, place them one at a time of a flat surface like a cutting board.  Then, pound, baby, pound.  I mash them until they are around a quarter-inch thin, if not thinner than that.   I especially like to use my metal scraper for pounding since it is wide and flat.  I smash those potatoes like nobody’s business and then scrape them up with my scraper, but a solid spatula would work lovely too.

Line the smashed potatoes up on a baking sheet.  Into a bowl, crumble your bacon along with a lot of good shredded cheese-I like sharp Cheddar-some softened butter,  a dollop of sour cream, and whatever else suits your fancy.  Scallion tops would be good here.  Maybe some ranch dressing too.  And definitely salt.  You get the drift.

Mix all that good stuff in the bowl and top your potatoes.  Pour a little of the bacon grease around the topped potatoes and bake the whole shebang at 350 for 20 minutes.  The bacon grease will help give the skins a nice crunch and add so, so much flavor.

Once, we had some vegetarian-esque friends over, and I made these.  Our guests ate the dish fervently, even though the taters obviously had bacon on them.   They raved over how good these potatoes were and asked for the secret of the recipe.  It was a pleasure to tell them the secret ingredient was bacon grease.  I wanted to sneer at them, “See what you’ve been missing all this time, you yuppie!”  I didn’t though.  I think they learned their lesson.

You are not living unless you eat something with bacon in it, I tell ya.

Leftovers are delish too.  I reheat mine in a skillet with a little butter and, you guessed it, bacon grease.  Drain them well, and they are even better than the day before.

Delicious the second day.

These little babies are love on a plate.  They are cheesy good and crunchy to boot.  They make husbands happy and make semi-vegetarians question their life choices.  Not only all of that, you can take out your frustrations and make dinner at the same time.  Now, that is something even a blogging momma of four can actually do.

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