Monday, February 1, 2010

Dark Days Challenge week 11 - tired of potatoes!

This is the time of year when I get really tired of mashed potatoes. I've tried hard to avoid the meat-starch-veggie pattern of meals this winter, but sometimes it's just the easiest thing to fall back on. A recent episode of a cooking show by Nigella Lawson got me thinking about mashed beans instead of potatoes, and that brought me to this week's meal.

Dinner was a pan-fried pork chop, green beans with garlic and shallots, and mashed beans (stueben yellow variety) and cauliflower with garlic and shallots.

I used about twice as much beans as cauliflower, and I cooked the beans low and slow during the day. (Out of all the methods I've tried, low and slow seems to give the best results. I think these cooked for almost 4 hours on low.) When the beans were almost done I added the cauliflower (which had been blanched, frozen, and defrosted) and continued cooking until the cauliflower was soft. In another pan I sauteed the garlic and shallots in olive oil, then tossed the well-drained beans (reserving some of the cooking liquid) and cauliflower in the pan. I had this idea that I could just use a potato masher, but the cauliflower was a little too fibrous for that. So I ended up using the immersion blender, which resulted in a slightly chunky mash. I added a small amount of the cooking liquid to get the right texture (in the same way that you'd add milk or cream to mashed potatoes, but I didn't want to add dairy to this side dish.)

Everything but the seasonings and olive oil were local in this meal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whole-heartedly agree. Much of the challenge for winter cooking is finding new ways to use potatoes.

Your post reminded me that green beans and potatoes somehow seem to go together generally in many dishes. As a child, my mother made that a lot, along with cauliflower and potatoes.

How long do you cook your green beans before adding the cauliflower and starting the mash? I know it goes against "convention" but I like starting the green beans and potatoes at the same time, so that the beans get over-tender and almost wrinkly.