A proper vegetable puree or mash is a delightful thing, indeed. Purees are among the first solid foods we were fed in our infancy, our first taste of veg – usually carrots, potatoes, and peas in the West; yam, taro, and kabocha squash here in the East. For many home cooks, it is also one of the first things we learned how to prepare and serve as the process for making it was as simple as tossing chunked-up veg into a pot of boiling salted water; cook till soft, drain, pound with impunity with a pestle or masher, add butter, et voila! Creamy, moreish sustenance is withing one’s reach.
With Siberian winds blowing through the Philippine archipelago at the moment, cold snaps in Europe, and a polar vortex screeching through the United States, a hot and freshly-prepared mash is a welcome treat as either a side dish to go with a hearty viand (roasts, chops, steaks, and whole roasted fish or fowl are all nice; a platter of crunchy-skinned fried chicken even more so!) or as supper on its own if sprinkled over with plenty of freshly-grated Cheddar or Parmesan. Interestingly, the pot of mash in today’s blog post actually does double-duty: not only is it a nourishing side on the day it’s made, but any leftovers can be turned into tasty little croquettes for the next meal!
This recipe is a deliciously creamy mixture of pumpkin (actually kabocha squash [kalabasa]) and potatoes. The veggies are made even more savory by being boiled together with plenty of garlic before being mashed up with plenty of milk, butter, and a generous helping of cheese. The end-result was a richly-flavored mash with a slight sweetness from the pumpkin and a hint of sharpness from the cheese.
On its own as a regular puree, it went quite well with the Italian-style burger steaks I made for dinner last night. Tonight, I fried up the leftovers into deliciously crunchy little croquettes to go with ham-and-potato fritters, grilled pork belly, and mushroom soup for a dinner that kept my family warm both inside and out. Try it yourself; I’ve no doubt that your family will love you for it. 😉
Garlicky Pumpkin Mash
- 1/4 kilo pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup milk, warmed
- fine salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Cheddar or Parmesan cheese
Place the vegetable chunks and garlic in a medium saucepan and sprinkle over the coarse salt. Pour over enough water with which to cover the veg; stir well to dissolve the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until both the pumpkin and potato are soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the heat and drain well.
Put the drained veg, garlic, and butter into a large mixing bowl and mash well with a potato masher until well-combined. Add the milk and cheese and mix well; season to taste and, if desired, sprinkle additional grated cheese over the mash to serve.
Serves 4 as a side.
Pumpkin Croquettes Roll up generous teaspoonfuls of the mash and dip into beaten egg before rolling in panko breadcrumbs. Deep-fry until golden brown and drain on paper towels before transferring to a serving plate. Serve immediately with tonkatsu sauce or tomato ketchup.