I love mashed potatoes and don’t know anyone who doesn’t. However, I’ve been eating them since I could chew and they’ve become a little boring so I knew I had to jazz up the recipe.
The inspiration for this one comes from a Russian dish called Vareniki. Vareniki are Russian dumplings which can be filled with a myriad of things, such as: cherries, pickled cabbage and potatoes. They are served with fried onions and sour cream.
When I was a little girl, living in Ukraine, my mom made Potato Vareniki for us quite often and they have always been one of my very favorite foods. Now that we’re living in New York and she doesn’t have time to make Vareniki anymore (and the ones sold frozen in stores are yucky), I find myself missing them. This recipe is my way of paying homage to a Ukrainian classic and a way of getting all the flavors of Vareniki in a simple side dish.
P.S: I know the name doesn’t exactly sound appetizing and have tried to find a new name but to no avail, so…
6 medium-sized Idaho potatoes
½ medium white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. sour cream
½ cup milk
A few pinches of cayenne pepper
(Yield: 5-6 servings)
Thoroughly wash the potatoes and peel them. Dice them into 1½ inch cubes and place in a pot. Fill the pot with cold water – just enough to cover the potatoes, extra water is unnecessary. Season with one tablespoon of salt and cover tightly with a lid. Place on high heat and bring to a boil <- this should take about 10-15 min. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to medium and leave the lid on with a slight crack to let steam escape. Let the potatoes cook to the point where they feel like butter to a knife – about 5 more minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, fry the onions in the olive oil in a small skillet on medium heat. The onions need to get crispy and dark brown. Right before they are done add the garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds (do not burn the garlic, it will taste bitter.) Set aside for now.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and place them back in the hot pot. Mash them with a potato masher until the mixture is smooth. Then add the sour cream, milk, cayenne pepper, about 1/3 tsp. black pepper and the fried onions and garlic with the oil. Stir everything together and re-season with salt to taste. Enjoy!