Experimenting with mashed potatoes – Part 1

Mash experiment

Being half Austrian, I adore potatoes. Don’t get offended if you are Austrian or German or share some Germanic genes, that’s not a stereotype, my mum used to say that to me every time she presented something made with them… You should’ve seen my heart shaped eyes…

One thing my mum never made from scratch though, was potato croquettes. We always bought them from the supermarket – although it wasn’t one of the stapes of our family menus – so I missed the chance to learn how to prepare them. And I kept this secret will to tackle this recipe since then.

With me being me, the big question was, would I follow a recipe that has been made loads of times and it’s practically fool-proof? Obviously not! And to add a degree of difficulty to the whole process, why using fresh potatoes when I can use instant mash? Other point, I don’t like fried food too much, I find it difficult to digest and I don’t like the smell it leaves in the house (despite you keep all the windows opened), so I thought of using the oven instead.

This is the point where it all started, again. Last week when I was at the supermarket, I got a bottle of milk, a pack of instant mash, and a block of cheddar cheese with onion and chives, already visualising the delicious success in my mind: oven baked potato croquettes with cheese filling. Never was I so wrong.

Following the instructions on the pack, to obtain a creamy mash I should’ve mixed a 125g sachet with 500ml of boiling water and 250ml of cold milk, a pinch of salt and a knob of butter. I thought that reducing the liquid to 600ml altogether was the best choice to obtain a mass stiff enough to be manipulated. Moreover, I added a whole egg and some grated parmesan cheese to make it even thicker.

The result was a sticky “dough”, quite difficult to handle really, unless I had my hands covered in oil to prevent it to stick to them. Anyway, with some hard moments, I made eight kinda-oval-shaped croquettes with a piece of cheddar in the middle, and I let them bake at 200°C fan for approximately 40 minutes, flipping them over after 20 minutes.

With the mass being still very moist, they started to flatten after 10 minutes in the oven. The cheese (which was too much for the size of the croquettes) melted and released the oil, leaving a greasy trail the whole length through… I was tempted to turn the oven off and chuck everything in the bin, but I held on and waited until they were “ready”. This was the result, not really appealing and not what I was expecting.

Baked croquettes
Awful look, not too bad taste…

I let them cool down overnight, hoping that the release of the moisture would help. Taste-wise, they weren’t that bad, although I wouldn’t present them to anyone for dinner!

But I didn’t give up hope. I still had 3 sachets of instant mash, and plenty of ideas to try!

Stay tuned for episode two of my experiments with mash!



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