Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waffling Leftovers: Mashed Potatoes & Potato Puree

Do you really need an intro to my Waffling Leftovers series at this point?  By now, you know what I do.  I reheat my leftovers, generally as is, in my waffle iron.  And I usually love the results.  I've covered Italian main dishes (lasagna, pizza, etc), I've covered casseroles (tuna noodle, shepherd's pie, etc), and now, its on to side dishes (like the crazy successful grits from last week).

Mashed/pureed potatoes: Will it Waffle?  Yes ... but, like mac and cheese, some crusting is required to maintain structural integrity.  Or ... make it opened faced.  More on that below ...

Mashed Potatoes

The ingredient I had in mind for this experiment was simple: leftover mashed potatoes. 

Mashed Potatoes.
The potatoes actually came from leftover shepherd's pie, so there was a bit of peas, carrots, and corn also in the mix, but, just go with it.

Inside the waffle maker ...
I thought the mashed potatoes would waffle up and get a crispy exterior, like a potato pancake.  It sorta did ... except, there was absolutely no structural integrity.

I left it cooking for quite a while longer, and it got slightly more crispy, but it was clear that there was no way I'd ever be able to extract it as a full waffle from the waffle iron.

Tasty, and I liked the crispy bits, but certainly not a waffle.
Crusted Mashed Potatoes.
I had a tiny bit left of the mashed potatoes, that I was planning to just heat up and eat as regular mashed potatoes, but I couldn't resist trying to improve on my failed experiment.

Remembering how adding a cornflake crust made waffled mac and cheese a success, I added a crushed cornflake crust to the mashed potato and made a tiny little crusted mashed potato patty and waffled it.

And ... it worked.  While this was a small test, it held together fine and got super crispy on the outside.  I didn't mind the slight cornflake contamination of my mashed potatoes either, although I certainly wouldn't think of combined the two normally.

Next time, I'd certainly go for a crust again, although I'd try breadcrumbs.

Potato Puree

A few months later, I again had leftover mashed potato.  Ok, technically, it was potato puree, not mashed potatoes. 
Potato Puree.
The puree was incredible, loaded up with soooo much butter and cream, plus chives for even more flavor.  It was crazy creamy, crazy decadent, and oh so delicious.

Thus, into the freezer the leftovers went.
Leftover Potato Puree.
I pulled out the leftovers, and heated one block up in the toaster oven.  It came out fine, and I was impressed at the texture of the potatoes, even when frozen and reheated.  I think because it was such a smooth puree, no strange texture resulted from the freezing, as usually happens with mashed potatoes.

But you know me, I wanted to waffle things, so, into the waffle iron the other chunk went.
Almost there ...
Except ... I forgot to read my previous post, and failed to crust it.  I remembered this when I opened the lid to check on it, but actually, it looked like it was holding its structure fine, just obviously not done yet.

So, I let it go a bit longer, so the two halves would bind together.
Done!
I waited a bit too long though, as the top got a bit burnt.  Somehow the bottom side didn't though, which upset me slightly, because it means that my waffle plates aren't the same temperature ...

Anyway, even without crusting, this was a success.  It held together nicely, was super crispy on the outside, and a bit creamy inside.  It was kinda like hashbrowns or fries even.  I really enjoyed it, even if slightly over done.

Mashed Potato - Open Faced?

Another day, another batch of mashed potatoes to waffle, but this time, something didn't go quite as planned ...
The Original: Silky Smooth Mashed Yukon Golds.
I started with some seriously good mashed potatoes.  Just mashed yukon golds, with the perfect amount of butter and milk.  Creamy, with a bit of texture from a few chunks.  They were really fantastic potatoes, somehow not too decadent, but also still very delicious.  I think there was likely more butter than I realized, but, hey, they were great.

They were great cold the next day.  They were great warmed up in the oven.  But, I had to try waffling them too.
Cooking Underway.
I did not crust the potatoes.  I set the waffle iron to 350°  fairly randomly.  I was having them for breakfast, so I was going for more of a thin crispy hashbrown style than a big potato pancake, so I spread it in fairly thin.

After a few minutes of cooking, things didn't look good.  After 5 more minutes, it still didn't look good.  Because I did it so thin, the top grill didn't make contact with the potatoes, so it looked like a pool of mush, not crisping up.  I thought it was going to be a disaster to remove.  I didn't take a photo, and decided it was likely a waste.  I put another batch of potatoes in the regular oven, and returned to the waffle iron to clean up.
Lightly Waffled Mashed Potatoes!
And then I realized my creation was actually fine.  The bottom was in contact with the plates.  It did crisp up, lightly, and it didn't burn.  The waffle extracted from the iron with no problem.  And the top (now underside once I flipped it out), was creamy and moist.  It was the best of both worlds.

I actually loved this creation, and it inspired me to think about more "open-faced" style waffles, where I only intentionally waffle the underside, either by doing it thin like this, or, by not closing the top.

The evolution continues ...
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