I love mash. It’s such a simple but supremely satisfying dish. I usually can’t stop myself from dipping my finger into it already in the kitchen. Here are some hints how to make a great mash, some interesting variations on the basic recipe and some toppings that turn mash into a main dish.
Couscous is a great fast food. The variations below are nearly a meal in itself but get yourself some spicy sausage or lamb chops to go with it and you have a great lunch. You can vary the ingredients indefinitely.
1 cup couscous (precooked)
1 cup strong broth, vegetable or chicken
1 tsp smoky harissa paste or smoked paprika powder (pimento de la vera)
2 tbsp olive oil
Bring the stock to a boil, dissolve the harissa or pimenton, stir in the couscous, cover and let sit for 10 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir to break up, add the olive oil.
Fennel, pear and nuts couscous
1/2 fennel bulb
100g brown mushrooms or oyster or fresh shiitake
2 cloves of garlic
almonds or hazelnuts
chopped mint, and/or coriander and/or parsley
Toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius, when browned put them in a cloth and rub the skin off. Cut the fennel and mushrooms into strips, cut the garlic into thin slices. Fry the garlic with the mushrooms and fennel, salt. Cut the pear into cubes, juice the orange. Add the orange juice, mushrooms and fennel to the couscous and finally the chopped herbs and pear.
Some yoghurt with roasted and ground coriander and cumin seeds goes well with this.
lemon & pomegranate couscous
1 large pomegranate
1 lemon, juice and zest
chopped mint, and/or coriander and/or parsley
Zest the lemons, blanch the peel a couple of times. Scoop out the pomegranate seeds and remove the white membrane around the seeds. Add the lemon juice to the couscous, then the other ingredients.
A very nice mash that goes well with sausages and onion gravy
400 grs potatoes
200 grs parsnip
200 grs Brussels sprouts
1tbsp whole grain mustard
spring onions, two per person
Boil the potatoes and parsnip in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely slice the Brussels sprouts, blanch for a few minutes until tender, drain. Mash the potatoes and parsnip, add the sprouts, a good knob of butter, a big dash of cream, mustard and season with a generous amount of salt and a little bit of nutmeg. Mix well. Blanch the spring onions in salted water, toss in some melted butter. Serve the mash with the spring onions placed on top and the onion gravy on the side.
Left-overs can be used to make very nice fish croquetas, following the recipe of the bacalao croquetas:
Mix the left-over mash with flaked smoked mackerel, about 2/3 mash and 1/3 mackerel, crushed garlic, lots of chopped parsley, an egg and a bit of flour. Shape with two spoons into croquetas. Deep fry until golden. Serve with a salad. Nice.
Subtly aromatic and slightly sweet, great with game, lamb and sausages.
300 g floury potatoes
150 ml warm milk
120 g butter
100 g chestnuts (peeled weight) or 50 g crème de marrons
Peel the potatoes, cut them into roughly equally sized pieces and cook in salt water until tender. Mash together with the chestnut purée, add hot milk and butter, mix well. Season with salt, nutmeg and black pepper.
If using fresh chestnuts: Make a half-circular incision in the chestnuts and roast them in a very hot oven or in a covered cast iron pan until slightly charred on the bottom and soft on the inside. Add some water to the pan and oven to keep them moist. Peel and mash together with the potatoes. Add some sugar to the mash, the sweetness is good here. Some cream can be added in this case as well.
1 cup of corn polenta
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
good pinch of saffron
Grind saffron with some salt in a mortar, add to the stock, bring to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook at low heat for about 20-30 minutes (Depending on the type of Polenta) stirring continuously. It’s done when the polenta starts to stick to the spoon and comes away from the edges of the pot. Add some grated parmesan, stir to blend and fill into a oiled cake tin or pour onto cling film and shape into a roll. Let cool.
Cut into slices with a string, which can then be fried, grilled or gratinated with some more parmesan.
Sprinkle with some fresh thyme and serve as a side with lamb etc. or as a savoury breakfast.
The above would work equally with Thom’s “real polenta made easy”- recipe
300 grs red or yellow split lentils or mung daal
4 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cms ginger, finely chopped
4 curry leaves
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander +cumin powder
lemon & fresh coriander to serve
Wash lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, when they pop add cumin seeds. Lower heat, add garlic and ginger. Fry until slightly golden, add lentils, curryleaves and cover with water. Boil until lentils are tender, add tomatoes, tumeric, coriander & cumin powder. Simmer for 5 minutes more.
Serve with lemon juice and fresh coriander.
Source: Mr. Suleman
Real polenta made easy. Put 2 l boiling water, 2 tsp salt and 2 c polenta in a large stainless steel bowl set on top of a large pot of steadily boiling water so that it more than covers it. Whisk for 5 mins and seal the bowl with aluminum foil and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir polenta every 20 minutes.