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Joel Robuchon's Mashed Potatoes


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This is the recipe as described in several of Robuchon’s books and how he has prepared it on French television.

The amount of butter is 200-250 grams for 1 kg of potatoes. The steps are almost as described in the thread. After the potatoes have been passed through a food mill, the mash is stirred in order to dry in a pot on very low heat for five minutes. The butter should be incorporated little by little and it is not whisked vigorously at this point. Before the milk is added, the seasoning should be rectified. The milk should be incorporated little by little after which the pure is beaten with a whisk in order to incorporate air. Finally, it is passed through a tamis, which gives it the right texture.

Degusto,

Check out the Simply French Cookbook, the recipe is different than the one that you give.

Peace,

Molto E

Patricia Wells has changed a few of the recipes in the book in order to make them accessible to an American market. If you look at the recipes which Robuchon publishes under his own name, there are differences.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Not Robuchon's recipe, but one method I've used to great success (at home and at work).

Use starchy potatoes (don't peel them), boil in salted water until they are half done, then throw into the oven on a bed of salt to finish the cooking process (this dries them out). Scoop out the insides, pass through a tamis or a ricer.

To finish them, warm up the potatoes in a pan with some milk or cream, and then add cold, cubed butter (quite a bit). Season, and serve. Best potato purée I've ever had.

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Patricia Wells has changed a few of the recipes in the book in order to make them accessible to an American market. If you look at the recipes which Robuchon publishes under his own name, there are differences.

Bingo

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Edit to add: avoid at all costs using a blender. It can shear the potato cells releasing the liquified starch, leaving you with wallpaper paste. For explanation, check out the egci thread.

True, unless you're very careful and use the right configuration of hand blender on a VERY low speed. Doing this, you can combine the rigid power of a fork with the whippiness of a whisk. But yes, that method's not for everyone.

Also, for an interesting variation, check out David Bouley's version. He uses a combination of milk, cream, olive oil, and pistachio oil heated and incorporated into the riced potatoes first, and then puts them through a tamis (gently!) into a bain-marie and incorporates the butter at that point. I've tried this, and it actually yields a decent facsimile with a wonderful nutty accent and about 1/2 the butter.

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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Patricia Wells has changed a few of the recipes in the book in order to make them accessible to an American market. If you look at the recipes which Robuchon publishes under his own name, there are differences.

Bingo

Which I find quite almost mendacious, unless she says what she is doing.

Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

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I am sure that she has Americanized the recipe ingredients as La Ratte potatoes are rare over here. The process in which to make them of vigorously whipping in the butter rather than slowly incorporating it was really what I was refering to.

Mash Away,

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Hey, I have never considered the mashed potato with such intensity! Thank you for this thread! :smile:

Robuchon reccomends the moulin à legumes, a ricer (?), using the finest disk. The recipe in his book Le Meilleur et le plus simple de la pomme de terre lists the following ingredients for 6 servings:

1 kg. potatoes (ratte or BF 15)

250g. of butter

20-30 cl whole milk

coarse sea salt

He advises that the potatoes be all the same size to ensure they all cook evenly, advises against the blender at all costs, and says choosing new potatoes is a mistake because the mixture will turn out like paste. He says it's no mistake that the salting takes place in the beginning, in the water.

His method (I translate):

Wash but don't peel, and boil just covered in water that's been salted 10g. to the liter. Cook covered at a very slow boil for 20 to 30 minutes, until a knife cuts easily into one. Remove them from the water immediately and peel while warm. Pass them through the mill with the finest disk, into a big pot. Reduce the puree over low heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spatula, for 4-5 minutes. Incorporate the cold butter little by little. At this point it is important to continue to stir this thoroughly and vigorously to get a smooth puree. Boil the milk and incorporate the hot milk vigorously into the puree until it is completely absorbed. He says If you want to make it even more light and refined, you can pass it through a tamis à toile tres fine.

Vigor. The key. :cool:

I think that when considering an author 'americanizing' a recipe, and considering their intentions, we should consider when it was done. Also we have to consider the style of the author. Today people want total authenticity in their recipes, but back in the day for some cookbook authors it was their mission to get people cooking French - I wonder if she just chose not to get into a long discussion of the potato type used in the original recipe, and why she's susbstituting it for something else, especially if that kind's not available? I haven't read Well's recipe. Can anyone clue me in about how far she actually strays from Robuchon's recipe?

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The recipe with 250g butter for 1kg potato is the one he advertises when he's asked about the recipe for his otherworldly "puree de pommes de terre". Though, caught in a discussion about this recipe, Guy Savoy just laughed at him when Robuchon announced this ratio, adding that he (Guy Savoy) reckons a HALF/HALF butter/potato ratio. Robuchon just answered with a smile, pretty much acknowledging... that in the restaurant, it might be made "differently"... :wink:

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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The recipe with 250g butter for 1kg potato is the one he advertises when he's asked about the recipe for his otherworldly "puree de pommes de terre". Though, caught in a discussion about this recipe, Guy Savoy just laughed at him when Robuchon announced this ratio, adding that he (Guy Savoy) reckons a HALF/HALF butter/potato ratio. Robuchon just answered with a smile, pretty much acknowledging... that in the restaurant, it might be made "differently"...  :wink:

I'll second that hypothesis. It is quite possible that the restaurant recipe is different. I too have heard of a ration of half/half butter/potato from a reliable source.

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If a chef's written recipe is not a reliable source I would assume that none would be.

A chef's written recipe is hardly ever a reliable source. Everyone 'tweaks' their recipes ostensibly to 'adapt' to home cooking.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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A chef's written recipe is hardly ever a reliable source.  Everyone 'tweaks' their recipes ostensibly to 'adapt' to home cooking.

Exactly. Or the chefs keep some precious details to themselves (which is particularly true of pastry chefs, but not only).

The "ratte" detail puzzles me. Of course the primitive "ratte" potatoes that used to be grown in private gardens in the South and Center of France were top quality, and probably good for purée. They sometimes reached large sizes that could make them suitable for mashing. But they are a rarity, and whoever should try to make a purée from the modern "rattes" (small, tough, slightly bitter little things that go green in no time) would end up with a sticky mess. Better choose a mealy potato like bintje or, if available, very large, organic charlottes.

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Great chefs are always tweaking their recipes, or at least they always seem to be doing that. On the other hand, I've heard one chef advise a younger pastry chef to change at least one detail before giving out a recipe asked for by another pastry chef. His expanation was that this is simply how it's done. No one really expects to get the real recipe and they know they will have to tweak it to get the results they want. It's not the only story I've heard in that regard. Perhaps pastry chefs are worse because pastry is so much of a science.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Wow cutting the butter content down to 1/2 of that in the real recipe is certainly "tweaking" alright.

This all brings me to another question. Do you think that the recipes and techniques being taught, for example, at the Paul Bocuse Institute, could possibly be altered in some way? What about the Cordon Bleu? Where does the learning material come from?

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Alright, I'm going to make some mashed potatoes. Ptipois, I am going to follow your advice and do some investigation into the best potato to use. I'll start with the other potato in the recipe, BF15. What are the characteristics of the BF15, and are there any other names for it? Any insight would be appreciated! :biggrin:

Here is one website with a chart, and they say that neither the ratte nor the BF15 are good for puree. I do see the Bintje everywhere at the market. Perhaps a mix?

Potato Chart

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They are both yellow waxy potatoes,

You can make puree with them, but its not as light as that with starchy potatoes, although tastier, except that Binje is rather bland. Since they are so nice plain boiled, most prefer not to puree, bit boil (au vapeur) or use them cold for salads..

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I'm pretty well jacked up over this potato thread.  :biggrin:

Seems like there is a line drawn in the sand, in potato variety between mashed, and puree.

So my question is this technique considered mashed, or pureed?

woodburner

Most likely depends on what language you're speaking... :smile:

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They are both yellow waxy potatoes,

You can make puree with them, but its not as light as that with starchy potatoes, although tastier, except that Binje is rather bland. Since they are so nice plain boiled, most prefer not to puree, bit boil (au vapeur) or use them cold for salads..

I think that was supposed to be 'the point' of Robuchon's choice - that he chose a potato not used for that purpose before.

I've used ratte several times to a very luscious effect, but it definitely changes the nature of the dish. You don't want to be eating half a pound of this stuff, even if you make it perfectly.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Might be worth trying. But again, I think it's worth thinking of the robuchon style as another dish altogether. It's almost a garnish, rather than a side dish.

Also, you have to use a tamis. A potato ricer will take you half-way, but will still leave you with grain-sized particles of potato. So, if you use Jack's potato technique, it's quite a bit of work to the ffinished dish. The good news is you can do it several hours before, then reheat it with the addition of boiling milk.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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A chef's written recipe is hardly ever a reliable source.  Everyone 'tweaks' their recipes ostensibly to 'adapt' to home cooking.

Exactly. Or the chefs keep some precious details to themselves (which is particularly true of pastry chefs, but not only).

The "ratte" detail puzzles me. Of course the primitive "ratte" potatoes that used to be grown in private gardens in the South and Center of France were top quality, and probably good for purée. They sometimes reached large sizes that could make them suitable for mashing. But they are a rarity, and whoever should try to make a purée from the modern "rattes" (small, tough, slightly bitter little things that go green in no time) would end up with a sticky mess. Better choose a mealy potato like bintje or, if available, very large, organic charlottes.

Ptipois, do you know of anyplace where they may be still producing these large sized primitive rattes or are they long lost history?

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