Mashed potato is, I think, the ultimate comfort food. The creaminess, the lack of chewing, the fact it stays on your spoon or fork even if you are lying on the sofa watching telly. Don’t even get me started on what happens when mustard and cheese or a handful of chopped greens get added to the mix.
I could quite happily eat a bowl of mash for lunch and dinner every day during the winter. Granted I might get rickets or at the very least, a rather large bum. So how do I get the comfort of mash with a huge, rickets-preventing dose of vitamin c and the reduction in carbs to keep me out of Kim Kardashian* territory?
I make this delicious cauliflower mash. Or really I should say purée, because to simply mash cauliflower is missing the point. You need to use a food processor to get the creaminess you are after.
This mash is ready in 10 minutes from start to finish. I serve it anywhere I’d usually use mashed potatoes. As a topping for shepherds or fish pie; with sausages; with roasted meatballs or with a roast dinner. In fact, I’ll be adding it to our Thanksgiving and Christmas menu this year (alongside crunchy roast potatoes of course).
I recently made a bowl of this delicious cauli purée with chunks of roasted cauliflower, a drizzle of balsamic, some toasted pine nuts and some chopped parsley on top. Fancy.
I’ve recently followed my Grandma’s way of cooking with a little bit of rendered organic bacon fat and this is a recipe where it really makes a difference. Although it does of course stop it being vegetarian. Thankfully the fat-free and low-fat brigade have been proven wrong about us all having to avoid butter and lard. You can read more here.
The recipe below makes enough as a side for 2 people, double or triple as needed but you may have to purée it in batches depending on the size of your food processor.
1 large cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon butter, rendered organic bacon fat or olive oil (to cook with)
a further 1 teaspoon butter, rendered organic bacon fat or olive oil (to purée with)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
optional – a pinch of nutmeg / a couple of tablespoons soft goats cheese / a handful of grated Parmesan or strong Cheddar / a couple of teaspoons Dijon mustard or horseradish / a handful of finely chopped watercress
1. Chop the bottom off your cauliflower then remove the tough outer leaves and discard. Put the paler inner leaves into a large saucepan then cut the florets into small pieces – around the size of a golf ball – before putting them in the pan too
2. Put the peeled garlic, left whole, in the pan along with the fat, butter or oil and 4 tablespoons water. You can prep until this point a day or two ahead if need be
3. Put the lid on the pan and put it on a high heat for a couple of minutes before dropping to medium high heat. Don’t take the lid off the pan while it is cooking. The small amount of water will produce enough steam to cook the cauliflower and garlic. If you take the lid off you’ll lose that precious steam
4. Cook for around 8 minutes, then take the lid off and poke a bit of cauli with a sharp knife. You want it to feel soft but not squishy. If it isn’t yet soft enough and the water has evaporated, continue to cook with the lid on but add another teaspoon or two of water to stop the cauliflower and garlic catching on the bottom of the pan
5. Put the remaining butter, bacon fat or oil in the food processor. I usually add a couple of tablespoons soft goats cheese at this stage too. Scrape the cauliflower and garlic along with any juices into the food processor. Put a pinch each of salt and pepper in the processor then pulse for 2 minutes. Stop every now and then to take the lid off and push the sides down with a spatula.
6. Once all the big chunks have gone, use the blend or purée button to give it a really good blitz and make it super creamy. I usually do this for 2 minutes.
7. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed. At this stage you can also stir through some chopped watercress or any of the other optional add-ins I detailed above.
8. Serve immediately.
*I don’t think KK got her bum from eating mash