Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8: Fennel Mashed Potatoes

Fennel is good for you. It keeps you from having bad breath and it aids digestion. And it tastes delicious. It tastes a little like licorice, but not in a yucky way. I like it raw, I like it braised, I like it steamed.

I think I'd like it this way too: mashed into mashed potatoes. Because I am totally that person who likes mashed potatoes pretty much any old way you can think to make them. Plain, with milk and butter, through the ricer? Check. Mashed with about fifteen cloves of garlic? Check. With smoked cheddar and chipotle pepper stirred in? Oh my yes.

Found this one on Epicurious. I do love that site.

Fennel Mashed Potatoes

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup (or more) half and half
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced fennel bulb and crushed fennel seeds and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is tender but not brown, stirring often, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pan; cook over medium heat until no liquid remains. Mash potatoes.

Add 1 cup half and half to fennel mixture and bring to simmer. Working in 2 batches, add fennel mixture to potatoes; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat, adding more half and half as needed if dry.)

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