Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April's Daring Cook's Challenge: Spring Chicken Stew in a Mashed Potato Bowl

Do your children ever wonder what the hell is Mom up to now? That was clearly what mine were thinking (one of them may have actually said it) when I served up April's Daring Cooks Challenge.

This month's challenge was to make an edible container. My first idea was to make these cool little woven bacon baskets, but I couldn't decide what I to fill them with. Then, I purchased, for first time ever, an issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. The current issue has one of our favorite comfort foods, chicken pot pie, on the cover and includes a recipe for a chicken pot pie served in a potato bowl. I borrowed their concept, but made my own chicken stew with Spring vegetables and mashed potatoes. Their pot pie filling was a little fancy for Monday night family dinner (yes, I do occasionally draw a line). And their mashed potatoes had an obscene amount of butter and salt.

Here's my version of the mashed potato bowls (my recipe for chicken stew/chicken pot pie filling will have to wait for another day):

Edible Mashed Potato Bowls

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
  • 2/3 cup whole milk (I think skim would probably be fine)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Uncover the saucepan and reduce the heat so that the potatoes simmer but don't boil over. Cook the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes. Test for tenderness using a fork. Drain the potatoes well and return them to the saucepan. Add the butter and a half cup of the milk.
  2. Use a hand mixer on medium-low speed to beat the potatoes for 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and continue to beat until the potatoes are fluffy. Add the remaining milk as needed to get a consistency that is creamy and slightly stiff. Season the potatoes to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  3. Cut a small hole in the corner a gallon-size ziplock bag and attach a a 1/2-inch plain tip before spooning in some mashed potatoes. Squirt the potatoes out into a cylindrical shape about 3 inches in diameter and 2-1/2 inches tall.

To serve, spoon the chicken stew into the bowls. Garnish with a roasted baby carrot or two.

Yield: 4 potato bowls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Not the best picture -- I wasn't feeling particularly well and I was losing my light. However imperfect the presentation, my kids were terribly impressed. And it was delicious.

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