Artichoke and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
After a brief journey into exceptionally fatty desserts that are going to ensure that I continue to have a weight problem for all of my god-given days, I’m back to tell you a bit about another holiday side that I made this Thanksgiving: Artichoke and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes.
Have you ever had olive oil mashed potatoes? If not, you should consider giving them a shot. I mean, I’m all for the creamy buttery mashed, roasted garlic and cream cheese mashed, sour cream and chive mashed….but we did a Mediterranean style Thanksgiving this year (more on that to come) and an olive oil mashed just seemed like the right thing to do. The olive oil gives the potatoes a richness and slightly nutty flavor, a gorgeous golden color, and they’re a bit lighter than the usual fare – which is nice during the holidays when you know that you’re about to consume more food in one meal than you could justify eating in the average week.
I told Mike that this was “Italian Colcannon“, but that’s not actually true, and not only only because Colcannon is, possibly, one of the least Italian side dishes ever. Our conversation actually went something like this:
Mike: “What’s going on with the potatoes?”
Tina: “I’m making ITALIAN COLCANNON!”
Mike: “Colcawhat? What’s that?”
Tina: “You know, Colcannon.”
Mike: “Saying it again doesn’t help. GOD, this is JUST LIKE WITH THE TILAPIA.”
Poor Mike. I don’t make things easy on him. Anyway, this is actually a slightly Greek take on Colcannon which is by far my favorite way to use cabbage and potatoes in tandem. Man, those Irish know their potatoes…and poverty cooking…..which is good, because I’m poor and I like potatoes. The divergence here is obviously that we used marinated artichoke hearts instead of cabbage, bypassed the pools of butter, and herbed it up.
Artichoke and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- 1 3/4 kg (3.8 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes – about 8 medium size taters
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 large sweet onion like Vidalia
- 12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil *
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper **
* the quality of your olive oil really makes a difference here, so pick a flavorful and slightly fruity oil if you have it, at least for the 3tbsp that you’ll be mashing with the potatoes.
** you know how mashed potatoes REALLY like their salt and pepper? This is no exception. Don’t be gentle with the seasoning. Season them when you’re still riding the adrenaline high from mashing them into submission.
Peel the potatoes and cut them in half. This will not only speed the cooking process, but also get rid of some of the starch making the potatoes a bit less dry when you mash them. Put them in a big pot of cold water and set them on the stove to boil away for 20 – 25 minutes or until they’re tender and mashable.
While the potatoes cook, chop the onions and mince the garlic. Cook these in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium low heat until the onions are soft and translucent, but make sure that they don’t brown or burn. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
Drain the artichoke hearts and give them a rough chop as well. Add this to the sauteed onions and garlic along with the oregano, give it a good stir, and take it off the heat.
When the potatoes are nice and tender they are ready to be drained and mashed.
Now here’s the thing – I’m no potato snob, and I’m not a potato purist either. I like lumpy smashed potatoes, I like creamy whipped potatoes. Really, I’ll take them any way that they come. However, for this dish the texture really benefits from having them well mashed, so use your elbow grease until you have one smooth criminal on your hands.
Add in with the quarter cup of chicken stock and the remaining 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, continuing to mash until everything is incorporated and silky smooth. At this point stir in the artichoke and onions and don’t forget to season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drizzle a bit more olive oil over top if you like, and a light sprinkle of extra oregano sure does make it pretty.
And a brief poem to potatoes:
I have a friend named Mr. Spud,
I really think he’s my best bud.
I like him mashed and deep fat fried,
I like him every way I’ve tried.
And now that artichoke’s his friend,
Our love affair will never end.
So lets sing praise to spuds on high,
And eat them daily ’til we die.
And….sorry if my poem just brought us all a bit closer to that day.