Saturday, January 16, 2010

Duchess Potatoes

Leftover Potatoes

Occasionally, as I eat my leftovers I have some odds and ends side dishes. A couple extra servings of green beans, a few ears of corn or, in my case, some mashed potatoes. At first I wanted to make some croquettes, but then I realized it would require some energy to form and fry them. I considered twice-baked potatoes, but then I remembered I needed intact skins for that. So I browsed through my recipe books for an idea, which came from one Julia Child.

Pre-baked Potatoes

I decided to turn my mashed potatoes into duchess potatoes. I vaguely remembering eating these potatoes as a side dish at a fancy dinner, perhaps on a cruise. But I had forgotten all about them. I would recommend starting with very smooth potatoes, either by thorough mashing, whipping or ricing. You can mix in some egg if your potatoes need some binding, but I omitted this step. I put my leftover potatoes into a large piping bag fixed with a large star tip (the one too big for traditional couplers). Then I formed all sorts of shapes: zigzags, tall spirals/rosettes, figure-eights, etc. I popped the tray into a 400 degree oven.

Duchess Potatoes

After about 15 minutes I got a little impatient. The outside of the potatoes had started to brown slightly, but I was hungry. So I turned on the broiler and slightly singed the potatoes, but other than a little extra color the potatoes came out looking good. The ridges formed by piping start to brown first, adding some beautiful contrast to the spuds.

Duchess Potatoes

I was very pleased with my revamped potatoes. They are a very simple way to make your formless side of potatoes into something more elegant. It's a little like the Ugly Duckling, just with potatoes.

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