My typical simple formula for mashed potatoes is usually: boiled potatoes, butter, and milk – mashed together and that’s it. Recently I’ve been adding another ingredient to it – cheese. It instantly becomes another kind of mashed potatoes – creamy and more flavorful. The cheese is added at the very end and the puree is cooked on the stove until the cheese melts into the potatoes. Yum! I saw this trick once at my friend Aysun’s house, an amazing cook. I made this dish a part of our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Can’t wait to make it again, for another happy occasion.
A few pointers to guide you in your mashed potato making adventure. You’ve probably seen many recipes for mashed potatoes before, most calling for peeling the potatoes then boiling them. This is a no-no for me. I don’t like to do it. Because, first, the skins keep the flavors inside, and second, the skins will prevent the boiling potatoes from absorbing a lot of water thus loosing most of its starch. So I say keep the skin on and peel it later.
About cheese: I use Turkish Kashar cheese (a local Turkish grocery store carries it), which is more known as Greek Kasseri cheese in the US. It is a mild milk cheese with a slightly salty flavor. The closest substitutes would be Provolone or mozzarella cheese. Or a combination of the two. Here’s Kasseri cheese, pictured below.
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The minute my reader Gunel from Azerbaijan sent me this recipe, I was hooked. Savory potato-carrot loaf? Baked in a loaf pan? Really? I mean, I am familiar with potato breads, but this is no bread. This is something different. Its texture it is more like kourkouto I am still addicted to, but it comes in a different shape and tastes differently. The loaf sets beautifully while baking and doesn’t fall apart when you slice it. It is utterly delicious too! Serve this loaf for breakfast, as a side dish, or as an any-time-of-day snack. This is a must try. You will be hooked too. Gunel, a big chokh sagh ol (thank you in Azeri) to you for the great recipe!
Savory Potato Carrot Loaf
Makes one medium loaf
4 medium potatoes (about 1 + 1/2 pounds)
1 medium carrot
1/2 cup corn oil or vegetable oil
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh mixed cilantro (coriander) and dill – you can substitute cilantro with parsley
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch of ground black pepper
Put the potatoes and the carrot in a medium saucepan and fill it with enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook – the vegetables should be cooked through but should not be mushy. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel off their skins. Cut the flesh into medium dice. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 380F. Grease (you can use butter, or vegetable oil spray) the bottom and the sides of a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, using a balloon whisk, stir the eggs to mix. Add the oil and stir to blend. Add the yogurt and stir again. Add the flour and baking powder. Stir to mix. Toss in the diced vegetables and chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir to mix. (Note: there is no need for a vigorous beating, so do not use a mixer).
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour, or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Unmold the loaf from the pan and slice. Serve at room temperature or chilled. This loaf will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.