Dec 26, 2010

sweetened potato casserole

this dish certainly isn't a looker, but i love it, my mom makes the best. i was dead set on trying to make it this year, i was aiming for it to be turned out edible alright, quite nice actually, perhaps not in my mom's league but let me practice for a few decades...

this dish is traditional, some parts of country make it sweetened (flour and/or syrup) or regular (basically baked mashed potatoes)

i started by boiling 3 kg potatoes (floury work best, like with mashed potatoes). traditionalists say you should cook the potatoes with the skin on, but i figured it's easier to peel them raw than cooked and hot. besides, mom cooks them peeled...

after the potatoes were done, poured out the water and added 2 dl of all purpose flour and mixed well, put the lid on and left to "brew" overnight (if not overnight, then at least for several hours). ideally the pot should be then placed in a warm place. luckily the fireplace had been going on at the shack, so the mantel was quite warm, but you could set the oven for 70C and keep the pot in there.

next day i buttered (generously) four 1,5 liter foil pans. normally i would stay away from foil pans, but they make freezing so much easier

next, i added 1 liter of full fat milk, 2 tsbp of dark syrup (something traditionalist shy away), salt and liquid fat (butter and vegetable oil)

not pretty, but wait until this gets...

... mixed well. the mixture should be rather "runny", a lot more so than mashed potatoes

...and baked. blobs of butter on top and optional, but will definitely make a difference in taste

baked three casseroles for 3 hrs in 175C, froxe one for later use (who says this traditional christmas dish cannot be eaten, say, on easter!?)

my stuffed turkey breast

like i mentioned in my post on dec 23rd, the turkey breast was turned out quite pretty anyways...

i made the stuffing out of these:

dried aprocots
fresh parsley and sage, dried thyme
maldon salt & crushed black pepper

saved the parsley stalks and froze them to be used later in a soup

motorized gadgets make life so much easier

as the breast was so big, i needed to figure out how i was going to tie it. laying out the kitchen twine, bacon and sage leaves beforehand helped a lot

i was going for a rolled efect but the mere size of the breast set limits to what could be achieved

it took two set of hands to tie the monster (and to take pics)

i think the bundle spend little over 2 hrs in the 200C oven, but i did have a thermometer in it, took the meat out once the inside temp was 77C.

xmas lunch

i hope you've all eaten well during the holiday weekend! i had a hasty christmas lunch on the eve before going to work, but i will enjoy a proper dinner tonight (it's still xmas, right?!)

here's what i enjoyed...cold smoked salmon, salmon roe with smetana and red onion on toast.

my fight to like brussels sprouts continues. never a christmas tradition in my family, but here with slivered almonds and balsamic vinegar...i might be starting to like the sprouts

the stuffed turkey breast. i does pay to use a thermometer to check when any meat is cooked enough, the turkey was optimal doneness, not one bit dry.

i served the turkey with red wine gelee, mint jelly and sweetened potato casserole, the latter being my all time favourite xmas food. i have been very hesitant to make as my mom's is so good...i have made once many, many years ago, but will not bore you with the details of how that turned out.

the next couple posts will show how i prepared the sweetened potato casserole and the turkey

sorry for the crummy pics, was in a hurry and lighting sucked (excuses, i know!)