November 17, 2021 By Sean Fitzgerald, Sous Chef, Alma Nove
This recipe is popular in my family around the holidays. While the richness and quality of ingredients make it something that only gets made once or twice a year, whether pairing with a great turkey and gravy, or sitting alongside a Christmas roast, it’s a mainstay and a crowd pleaser for sure. The addition of the crème fraiche brings a little acidity to cut through the richness of all the cheese and butter. The horseradish stands up to the main course and gives a familiar feel but a fresh take on a traditional mashed potato. Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!
Alma Nove Pommes Aligot
5 pounds russet potatoes
6 quarts cold water
¾ pound unsalted butter (3 sticks)
1-½ cups heavy cream
¼ of a freshly grated nutmeg seed
1 pound grated Comte cheese (hard cheese from the Jura region of France, could substitute gruyere or cheddar if unavailable)
1 cup crème fraiche (could substitute sour cream if unavailable)
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish (could substitute prepared horseradish if unavailable)
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and halve russet potatoes, transfer to a large saucepan or stock pot and cover with the 6 quarts cold water. Bring pot to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and allow to simmer, checking potatoes with a paring knife until just tender enough to pass through with little resistance. The key is turning down the heat, keeping the potatoes in larger pieces (halved), and just cooking until cooked through; limiting water absorption allows more richness from the dairy to be folded into the potatoes without the mixture being watery. Strain through a colander, allowing potatoes to dry out in the colander while preparing dairy. The potatoes will have a powdery looking exterior as they dry.
Meanwhile in a saucepan, combine butter, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Warm over medium to medium high heat until the butter is just melted and the cream is simmering. Remove from heat. Using a food mill or ricer, process the potatoes back into the pot they were cooked in. Stir in the cream and butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Place the pot over low heat. At this point add the creme fraiche, grated cheddar, and grated horseradish, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The potatoes can be left on low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, to keep warm until serving.