October 16, 2021

Mashed potatoes more than a dance

Seen in the pre-Thanksgiving Dining section of a major national newspaper: “Leftover mashed potatoes normally head straight for the trash can.” What kind of nut tosses out leftover mashed potatoes?

Cooked potatoes mashed or not are like money in the bank around this house. And the person who wrote that actually came up with a couple of good things to do with them, though perhaps a bit fancier than most of us would care to try.

So maybe you have leftover mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner and you are running out of ideas about what to do with them. Not many folks these days can afford to throw out food. If you start with instant mashed potatoes, well, go ahead and toss them because they aren’t very good to begin with and go downhill from there. But if you have good Maine potatoes already cooked and mashed, there are lots of ways to use them up.

Here is my list:

Shepherd’s pie: Top your cooked burger-beef or venison with gravy and a layer of mashed potatoes and bake for 35 minutes.

Turkey herder’s pie: Top cooked turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes and bake for 30 minutes.

Colcannon: Saute shredded cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or kale and chopped onion in a bit of vegetable oil, then mix in leftover mashed potatoes to whatever proportion you like or the kids will tolerate. Brown on one side, then turn over to brown on the other, or stick it under the broiler. (Top with cheese if you want a more substantial dish.)

Chowder: Make a fish or corn chowder as you usually would, except don’t add any potatoes until the fish is cooked, or use some potatoes cubed or sliced, but not as many as you normally would. Then stir in mashed potatoes to make a nice, creamy chowder.

Potato Soup: Use mashed potatoes as a base for all kinds of creamy soups. Thin out the potatoes with chicken broth or vegetable broth. Add to that bits of flavorful meat like ham, sausage, or bacon or shredded cheddar cheese. Make a vegetarian version with broccoli, celery, shredded greens such as kale, parsley or spinach.

Potato turnip casserole: Mash together potatoes and cooked mashed turnips or rutabagas in equal proportions; top with butter or saut?ed onions, and bake for half an hour or merely heat on top of the stove in a heavy frying pan.

Fish cakes: Mix cooked fish like haddock, pollock, cod, even salmon with mashed potatoes until the potatoes will bind the fish. Season to taste, form patties and fry them in oil or bacon fat. Top with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.

Mashed potato cakes: Season the potatoes to taste with salt and pepper, garlic, onion, and form into flat cakes and brown them in vegetable oil.

Use mashed potatoes under stuff. Warm up your mashed potatoes and top with any of the following: Creamed salmon or finnan haddie (or other fish) and peas; chicken or turkey and gravy (and peas); dried beef in cream sauce; creamy sauce with favorite vegetables such as broccoli, peas and corn with or without cheese.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: tastebuds@prexar.com. For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

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