It is very rare that I get around to making mash, and certainly not something I will do for myself – but each time I whip up a batch the feedback I receive encourages me to make it again. For me (and I am not trying to trivialise the effort required to make it taste pretty good), I often hear more positive things about the mash than the main component of the dish. It is not that the latter is bad or disappointing – I genuinely think that because this is a little different from a conventional mash recipe – it just stands out more.
My approach to mash is to aim for an end result which has different textures and flavours, depending on what is picked up on the fork. I do not favour the type of mash which is so purely blended and smooth that it feels ‘manufactured’. I am not after baby food purée, and still have a full set of gnashers, thank you very much ;o). In addition, some offerings can be quite bland, very buttery and quite stodgy. My potato, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, onion and wholegrain Dijon mustard mash (to give it its full name) – is certainly not devoid of carbohydrates and I am sure will given hardened dieters cause for palpitations – it is filling, colourful, and from what I am told, tastes pretty damn good. Better still, it binds together without the addition of butter, and maintains a creamy texture without, err, cream.
As a lover of all vegetables, this is a great opportunity to have as many as possible in a single side dish. I personally find each ingredient on their own a little bland – combine them all together and you have something really tasty. The other feature I wanted to address with this recipe – presentation. Mash is typically a splodge of matter dumped on a plate (ok, it can be done with a bit of decorum) – I wanted to experiment using my chef’s ring in the hope that if compressed sufficiently, the mash would keep its form and not collapse. I have never had mash served to me this way before.
Finally, the mash can be made up to a couple of days in advance and kept covered in a fridge. It’ll take about 30 mins to heat through on the top shelf of an oven. I have served my potato, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, onion and wholegrain Dijon mustard mash (snappier name required, I know) with Boeuf Bourguignon, roast pork – actually I think it would work with a whole host of things. Enjoy!
Potato, sweet potato, parsnip and carrot mash with wholegrain Dijon mustard
- 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm chunks
- 1 x sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm thick rings
- 2 large parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into smaller pieces
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small bite size pieces
- 2 tsp course sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive olive
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and finely sliced into semi circular rings
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely sliced into semi circular rings
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 heaped tbsp wholegrain Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pain of water to the boil. Add the salt, following by the chunks of potato and sweet potato. Reduce heat so that it is a gentle boil, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Then, add the parsnip and boil for a further 5 minutes. Finally, add the carrots and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potato starts to come apart when prodded with a fork. The texture needs to be firm, but not hard, and certainly not boiled to a pulp. The carrots will be firmer - this is intentional.
- Carefully strain the vegetables in a colander, then rinse off the starchy scum with water.
- Next, wipe down the inside of the saucepan and heat up the olive oil. add the onions, and sweat on a medium heat for 2- 3 minutes. Then, add the grated garlic and continue to cook until soft. Remove from heat.
- Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl and gently mash with a large fork or slotted spoon. Everything needs to be combined evenly, but not mashed to a paste. Then, add the onions and mix into the root vegetables. Dab small amounts of the wholegrain mustard over the mixture, and fold in evenly. This will help with the even distribution of the mustard, rather than having a huge dollop in one helping. Add the chopped parsley, season to taste, and combine one more time.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and grease lightly with a little olive oil. Put a gently greased chef's ring on top of the greaseproof paper, and carefully spoon the mash into the centre. Compress the mixture until the mash is compacted, then using a plunger hold down and twist off the ring. If you keep rotating the plunger gently, it is less likely that the bottom of the plunger will stick to the top of the mash. Repeat, until the mash is used up. It should make 6 generous helpings.
- Finally, place in the top of an oven (around 160C) and cook for around 30 minutes until piping hot.