Sunny Anderson’s Baked Purple Mash

I was shopping in Reading Terminal Market over the weekend and I was so excited when I came across Purple Potatoes! When I saw them I knew I had to get them so I could make Sunny Anderson’s Baked Purple Mash. She made this dish on the Comforting Classics episode of her show Cooking for Real and it looked absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 pounds purple new potatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.

In a large pot, add enough water to fill 3/4 of the way, and then add the potatoes, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a fork is easily inserted, but the potatoes still hold their form, about 20 minutes. Strain in a colander and place back over the empty pot, allowing the remaining heat to evaporate some of the moisture from the potatoes and garlic, just a few minutes. Mash the contents of the pot well, and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the heavy cream. Mash until smooth, but if you like it chunky, leave it chunky. Then stir in 1 cup pepper jack cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Stir together the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, 2 tablespoons jack cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the potatoes. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Let me just say how wonderful this was! I loved how creamy the mashed potatoes were. It was the perfect amount of cheese, and I loved the flavor that the garlic added.  Mine don’t look as purple compared to how Sunny’s turned out. Maybe her potatoes had more purple in them. :)

I served it with Flat Iron Steak and Corn on the Cob, and this meal was a huge hit!  I have these little personal Au Gratin dishes and I figured they would work out well for this recipe!  They turned out very good!

The only change I made to the recipe was that I substituted cheddar cheese for the pepper jack cheese. We are not pepper jack cheese people so I made a cheese substitution and it worked out very well.  I loved the crunchy topping! I’m a huge panko bread crumb fan (that’s all I keep in the house!) and so I was excited to see it listed in the recipe.

This recipe will definitely go in my recipe box to make again.

Sweet Onion Casserole

I was paging through the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine (May 2011) and came across a recipe for Sweet Onion Casserole.  I’m always interested in trying out some new side dishes since I can easily get tired of the same ones over and over. I figured that I’d check out the reviews online to see what people had to say about it. I like to do that to see if the recipes needs to be worked with a bit or if they are perfect the way that they are. There weren’t many reviews at all for the recipe, but out of the few that commented, they said it has some potential. So I wanted to try to enhance the flavors.

The recipe calls to only saute the onions for 5 minutes or so. That doesn’t seem like enough time in my opinion. I decided to caramelize the onions before adding them in. I love the flavor of caramelized onions so I was so excited to see how it turned out. I also added in a bit of garlic that I used to make some garlic olive oil. There are many recipes I like to use garlic olive oil in and I think homemade tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. I also used the garlic olive oil in place of the canola oil in this recipe.

4 cups of onions

Onions before caramelizing

Caramelized Onions

Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used 1 tablespoon of homemade garlic olive oil + 1 tablespoon of butter)
  • 4 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 3/4 pounds) (I caramelized the onions a bit first)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I used medium-grain rice and it worked fine)
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Place onion in a large bowl.

3. Cook rice in a large pot of boiling water 5 minutes. Drain.

4. Stir rice and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) into onions. Spoon onion mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired.

My thoughts…

This was good – but it was still missing something. It definitely needed more salt. When I added a little bit more salt to my serving and mixed it together, it was better. So I would bump up the salt amount if you make it. I was hesitant to put too much in there because there is salt in the cheese, etc. This still needs something else to make it really stand out. I’m thinking that some Panko bread crumbs mixed with a little butter and fresh thyme would provide a nice crunch and add a little bit more pizazz to the dish. Maybe a little bacon would help? Doesn’t bacon make everything better?

Another note…when I took the foil off after it baked for 40 minutes covered, I kept it in there for another 10 minutes at 325 degrees and then I put my broiler on low and broiled it for 3 minutes or so to get some more color.

So all in all this does have potential. I would make it again in hopes of figuring out what the missing ingredient is.