BY RICHARD MOOREY
CHRISTMAS is all about time with friends and family and while gifts are an integral part of the holidays as a measure of showing our loved ones gratitude for being there for us throughout the year, for chefs we have a tendency to do that through food.
Some chefs enjoy baking, candy making or crafting other confections. Some chefs love preparing the savoury aspects of dinner such as turnips, turkeys and hams, and while I love doing all of those things, there is one that I love wowing Christmas diners with more than anything else. The ever humble potato.
Let’s face it all of the other aspects of Christmas dinner are very important but without those buttery, smooth potatoes it just wouldn’t be the same. I very often get complimented on my ability to make amazing mashed potatoes for dinner but I have a secret. Well in fact I have two secrets . . . first when I make my mashed potatoes it’s not really mashed it a puree and second they’re not really mine.
I certainly do make an amazing potato puree and all the more amazing to my diners is that it’s only four ingredients. But the secret is that it’s completely because I read a lot and had the good fortune of discovering the Puree de Pomme recipe of a true gastronomic legend and culinary master, Joel Robuchon.
The French master is one of those chefs on the level of greats like Paul Bocuse and other chefs you may have never heard of but I assure you that to chefs, these guys would be like YODA. Any chef that can take four ingredients and make something this mind boggling delectable has for sure earned his stripes and it’s easy to taste how he was named the chef of the century in 89’.
Anyway the secret is out but I am happy to share my starchy secret just in time for your Christmas dinner. While they take a little time and effort I can assure you that your table will be beset by your culinary greatness if you make this Puree de Pomme for Christmas this year.
Puree de Pomme (pilfered from Joel Robuchon)
2 lbs Yukon gold
1 lb unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup milk
Salt to taste
Place unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and peel. Transfer to a bowl and let potatoes cool slightly.
Turn potatoes through a food mill on the finest setting, back into the cooking pot. Heat pot over medium heat stirring until heated through and steam begins to come off the bottom of the pot. Add butter (while stirring vigorously) in five additions, allowing each addition of butter to be almost melted before adding the next until it all has been incorporated.
Stir in warm milk until combined. Using a whisk, vigorously stir potatoes until fluffy. Season with salt.
Put the potatoes in a service bowl . . . whatever you have managed not to eat that is! Makes 5 1/2 cups.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House)is the chef/owner of The Peppered Bear Northern Eatery and Pub and EVOT. He can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.