Among the many foodisms I hear, the term leftovers is definitely in the top-5 list of my most disliked culinary phrases.
Leftovers seems (to me anyway) to evoke a less than it was before, didn’t make the grade, and used kind of feeling.
In truth, many things prepared now for later use could just as easily be called leftovers. Chefs instead call it Mise en Place, a French term that loosely translates to getting everything in its place or pre-prep.
When you look at it that way, yesterday’s mashed potatoes were just Mise en Place for what I really intended to do with them today.
Yes, I like that better I think.
They’re not just being re-purposed; they’re being selected for a recipe exclusively needing their specific state of readiness.
And I think mashed potatoes are a perfect example of my point.
First, I happen to love potatoes (as I suppose most everyone else does), and I suppose I’ve made what must be hundreds, if not thousands, of batches of mashed potatoes over my 40-year professional career. That doesn’t necessarily make me an expert (unless you’ve tasted my mashed potatoes–then I think you might agree), but it does make me well-practiced.
Occasionally, as it turns out, even the pros can end up with more mashed potatoes than people who can eat mashed potatoes. And this can result from any number of unforeseen circumstances (or maybe just because your tater math was a bit off).
Not to worry.
Now keep in mind, if you really like mashed potatoes, you don’t necessarily have to make them into anything else. They freeze well. Just microwave and re-whip. The re-whip part is kind of important. Otherwise, they can look like potato cottage cheese if you just stir.
But if you think your mashed spuds are instead destined for another great dish, I have some suggestions I think you’ll love.
Here are three:
The first two ideas include a brief description because the actual recipes aren’t so much science as personal tastes. Sometimes I think recipes get in the way and limit your imagination. I like to think of it like giving you the expressway directions and encouraging you to take an exit and explore the side roads if something inspires you.
Crispy Creamy Potato Cakes
If, after you’ve made your mashed potatoes, you still are in possession of a couple of raw potatoes, you may want to try this.
Peel (although that isn’t a must) then shred, rinse and pat dry your raw potato. Toss 1 cup of it with one beaten egg and 2 TBSP of cracker meal (saltines will do nicely). Season this mixture with salt and pepper.
Re-soften your mashed potatoes with a fork, so they can be made into a cake. If you like, you can add cheese, green onions, and heck, even bacon bits!
In a non-stick skillet, pour a ¼” of canola or vegetable oil and heat to 350 F or medium.
Portion a 3”-diameter cake of the raw, shredded potato mixture, ¼” thick, and then top with a similar amount of mashed potato mixture and then, once again, with another amount of your raw, shredded potato mixture (like a sandwich).
Fry on each side 3 to 5 minutes or until brown and crisp on both sides.
Drain excess oil off on absorbent paper and serve.
Twice Baked Potato Bisque
If you like twice-baked potatoes, you’ll LOVE this recipe.
Start by adding 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of mashed potatoes and ½ cup cream or half and half to a medium-sized saucepan. Adjust thickness of the bisque with additional broth as necessary.
Bring to a simmer and add approximately ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup crisp, crumbled bacon and 2 TBSP of chopped green onions. Simmer and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into serving bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
My last recipe is a bit gourmet, but what the heck; your mashed potatoes are entirely worth it!
A general comment here: I wouldn’t recommend this recipe if you use a lot of milk in your mashed potatoes and make them quite wet. This recipe does, however, work very well for most mashed potatoes.
Makes about 6 to 8 Servings
2 Mounded Cups Your Mashed Potatoes
1 Extra-Large Egg
¼ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP Chopped Green Onions
For the Choux pastry dough:
½ Cup Milk
½ Cup Water
2 TBSP Butter (1/4 stick)
3/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
4 Extra-Large Eggs
To fry the Potatoes Lorette:
1 to 2 quarts Canola or Vegetable Oil
- Place your mashed potatoes in a medium-sized bowl and then mash in the egg, cheese and green onions. Set aside.
- To make the Choux dough, in a medium saucepan, bring milk, water (all water or milk if you like), butter and salt to a boil.
- Add flour, reduce heat to medium and beat in until it forms a stiff paste.
- Remove pan from the heat and beat in the eggs vigorously, one at a time.
- Add your potato mixture to this hot dough mixture and stir in.
- In a separate saucepan or skillet, heat your oil to approximately 350 F. Then drop in 1 TBSP-sized spoonfuls of your Lorette potato mixture and fry (turning over if necessary) until medium golden brown.
- Remove to absorbent paper and salt if desired.