Cycle 14 – Item 196
20 (Thu) July 2023
Mashed Potatoes in Chicken Gravy (with Roast Chicken)
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with W and IZ
The Gamja Project (12)
In this series, I cook potato dishes using freshly harvested gamja gifted to us from a neighboring farmer at the cabin (for more background and related posts, see THE GAMJA PROJECT).
Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (27)
Number One Swedish Fan GK and I collaborate to cook dishes in our respective kitchens on a specific theme – most commonly, I make something Swedish, while he makes something Korean – then share photos and comments (for more background and related posts, see KSCX).
The Gamja Project wouldn’t be complete without mash, probably my favorite potato dish of all (see for example 9.357 Purée de Pommes de Terre … with Black Truffles).
On this occasion, I am happy to report on 2 major breakthroughs that will forever change how I make the dish, especially when accompanying roast chicken.
First, the potatoes.
Rather than peeling, quartering, and boiling the potatoes as I usually would, I kept the skins on and steamed them whole. Once cooled, the skins came off in a snap. Underneath, the potatoes were completely intact, both protected by the skins and less agitated by the gentler steam (boiling can result in crumbly surfaces), But most important, the skins enhanced the earthy flavor of the potatoes, making them taste more like, well, potatoes.
Second, the gravy.
I usually don’t bother making gravy for mashed potatoes. Mostly because nobody in the family really misses it – a typical spread of roast chicken + mashed potatoes + buttered corn & carrots does just fine without gravy (see for example 13.332 Roast Chicken). But also because I would rely on the pan drippings, which tend to be very salty (heavy seasoning on the bird), and I don’t like scrambling at the last minute to whip up the gravy after the chicken is already done (even though I can do it while the bird rests).
By coincidence, I was watching a video a couple days ago on YouTube from America’s Test Kitchen, wherein chef Lan Lam explains how to use water to improve browning (see For Better Browned Meat and Veggies, Just Add Water) – talk about clickbait. One segment (starting at 09:25) features chicken gravy made with chicken scraps, specifically the backbone and neck of a spatchcocked chicken. Initially boiling the bits in liquid (water or chicken stock) draws out all the juices containing the sugars and amino acids, thereby intensifying the Maillard reaction, after the liquid has evaporated. The thoroughly browned bits results in a stock that’s amped up in chicken flavor, which then forms the basis for a rich gravy. And everything can be done while the chicken roasts.
The potatoes were the most potatoey mash that I’ve ever accomplished. Everyone agreed.
The gravy was the most chickeny gravy that that I’ve ever accomplished. Everyone agreed.
1.4 kg of potatoes remaining.
[The italicized comments below are GK’s own words, with minor typographical edits from me.]
I had another go at a potato-based Spanish tapa. Inspired by one of your recent posts, and due to having some leftover cooked potatoes in the fridge, I decided to make tortilla. I followed this recipe from Adam Ragusea, except that I had already cooked the potatoes.
I cut up the potatoes and the onions, started with frying the onions a bit in olive oil, then in with the potatoes and fried them together for a little while more. Mixed them with some eggs and then back into the pan. I fried them for about 5 minutes and then used a plate to flip the tortilla. After frying the other side for another 5 minutes, I wanted some more color, so I cranked up the heat a bit and fried the tortilla on both sides a bit more.
At the same time, I decided to try to get revenge for my failed mayonnaise last weekend, and I actually succeeded! After getting the emulsion going, I also mixed in some cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and pressed garlic to make an aioli (I had used some mustard already when starting the mayo). I finally mixed in a couple of drips of “liquid smoke” to make it a bit smoky.
I served the tortilla with a salad and the aioli.
The dishes turned out pretty good. Maybe I could have added some more salt and/or pepper in the tortilla, but it was fine as it was. The aioli was nice too.
Final note: maybe I shouldn’t have fried them so much, which would’ve kept the interior a bit more moist. That way of cooking it seems to be more popular in Spain.
On my effort:
- I am very proud of my dish, both the mash and the gravy – the entire Gamja Project will have been worth it if only for the breakthroughs in this installment.
- Still debating, however, whether I should strive for smoother mash. Typically, as this time, I put them through a ricer, which has tiny holes that would seem sufficient to produce a fine mash but for some reason the potatoes still turn out kinda lumpy. I don’t like using a food processor or immersion blender, which makes the potatoes gluey. A manual food mill would work best, but the one that I have is a pain to use (see for example 12.347 Special Potato Soup).
On GK’s effort:
- Looks like GK has upgraded his phone/camera, because the images are looking very nice.
- Following his previous Spanish dish, which I’d described as “the most beautiful dish that GK has offered in this series,” this one is also gorgeous – perhaps Spanish cuisine is his thing?
- While the tortilla does look a tad dry, the extra time in the pan did produce a perfectly golden crust.
- I appreciate inspiring GK to make the dish, and happy that he did it better (see for comparison 14.182 Spanish Tortilla).
- I was preparing to make a snarky comment about GK’s obsession to perfect aioli – like, what’s the big deal? – but it turns out that I’ve only attempted it twice myself (at least, as documented on GMTD), both failures (see for example 3.199 Salmon Steak in Aioli), including once for a Norwegian dish, ironically (see 3.327 Norwegian Smørbrød with Moose Sausage & Aioli) – these days, I prefer the “cheaty” shortcut method of starting with bottled mayo (see for example 13.165 Tortilla Española).
With 1.4 kg of potato remaining, I have 2 final applications in mind: fried and baked. Actually, so long as I’m at it, I’ve decided to extend the project with (at least) 3 more applications: soup, sautéed, and hashed, which will require the purchase of additional potatoes. GK is welcome to join in the fun.
And/or, we could explore other Spanish tapas together…?
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)