Reliving my childhood through mashed cheese potatoes. Eating this brings me right back there. I can see myself sitting at the dinner table: scraped knees, bruises and a messed up ponytail while eating a big plate full of this. I could have come up with a smashing name for the dish, but I didn’t. It’s just one of those really simple and old family recipes. They didn’t come with fancy names back in those days.
This is what my mom used to make for me when I was feeling sick. And after my tonsils were removed at the age of 21, which was seriously no walk in the park. Or whenever I needed a pick me up during all the drama teenage girls go through for years and years and years. And after dramatic breakups with boyfriends. There were lots of those as well!
Have to admit I’m secretly glad I had a little boy. I would have been in a world of trouble having to raise a little girl from the same gene pool as me. My mom would have been the first to wholeheartedly agree with that.
But anyway, I digress…
2 pounds potatoes
2/3 cup of milk
6 oz aged cheese
I wasn’t lying about the scraped knees and bruises! See! They had to bribe me into wearing a dress. I still remember how my mom thought it cute to dress me and my somewhat older sister alike. We absolutely hated it.
On to the recipe.
Here’s a little over 2 pounds potatoes.
Peel them, give them a quick wash and cut them in coarse pieces.
I usually eyeball the amount of salt I use but I wanted to know for sure this time. Have some actual facts! I’ve used exactly 4 cups of water and 2 tsp salt for this. What can I say? I like over-sharing. And my new bright pink measuring cup.
Boil them until really tender. Cooking time depends on how small you’ve cut the taters. Mine took about 20 minutes. Set your timer!
Photo one is me showing off my Jamie Oliver pan. Photo 2 is me pouring 2/3 cup of milk in said pan. If you got it, flaunt it, right?
This version uses Gouda cheese and I’ve never used a different cheese for this, so if you want to try a different one; you’re on your own! I cubed 6 oz of it.
Now here’s where my recipe differs from the majority of recipes that add grated cheese to mashed potatoes. This next step makes a HUGE difference flavor wise. I need the cheese flavor to be everywhere. I wasn’t talking about mashed potatoes with an occasional cheese cube. Nope, I literally meant mashed cheese potatoes.
So here’s what I do. Or better said; here’s what my mom and my grandmother used to do and what will make my sisters (who read my blog, too) smile when they see it. I add the cheese cubes to the milk. The moment the potato timer only has 10 minutes left to go, you place the pan on the stove.
Melt the cheese over low heat. The milk does not reach boiling point! The cheese cubes will get all soft, some will melt completely, some of them won’t, but they will all release their fat. The milk will take on the flavor (and color) of the cheese. As soon as you see that yellow layer appear on top of the milk, turn off the heat.
Drain the potatoes. Add a good knob of butter and season with pepper and (freshly grated) nutmeg to taste. Can’t stretch this enough; freshly grated nutmeg makes all the difference. Even confirmed nutmeg haters have been converted when they tasted freshly grated nutmeg!
Pour the cheesy milk in with the potatoes.
Start mashing to your heart’s content. If you want a homogenized version, break out your hand-mixer. I never do, though, it’s not part of my childhood memory.
My version still has some texture with a half melted cheese cube here and there. Check the seasoning.
The scraped knees, broken hearts, tonsils and my mom are long gone. What stays are the wonderful memories. Too many to mention.
What’s that one special dish that makes you relive your childhood days?