The Mashed Potato Challenge

Mashed Taro/Yuca Root

The piece of Taro I used in this recipe is about 6 ½ inches long, weighs 9.7 ounces, taro peeled feels very slimy and starchy.  I tasted it raw and it has literally no flavor.  I added to the water 1 tsp of celtic sea salt, 1 shallot coarsely chopped, 1 ear of elephant garlic coarsely chopped [5 or 6 small garlic bulbs].  Boil until the Taro is fork tender.  This boiled for about 25 min.  Strain in a colander and place back into the hot pot, this evaporates the moisture from the pan and roots, at this point I tasted the Taro, and amazingly I was able to taste the onion and the garlic.  Add 2 tbs of ghee, 2 tbs of heavy whipping cream [to start, as you beat with a hand mixer, if you need it more creamy add a few more drops til the desired consistency, but don’t make it too runny], after its whipped add 2 tbs salted butter and 2 tbs sour cream and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

This was delicious and a perfect substitute for potatoes*.

*This root is still a tuber like a sweet potato, if you are doing Paleo I would suggest this being a treat and not a staple in your diet.  If you are craving comfort foods like meatloaf and potatoes or Sheppard’s pie, this is perfect! Also this root is very starchy tasting, it may take a little bit getting used to the texture.  You can remove a lot of the starch with advance planning by soaking the Yuca/Taro root in water for 24 hours, but don’t waste it, if you let it sit the starch will settle at the bottom of the container, carefully pour the excess water off the top let it sit, pour more water off, until you get dried power on the bottom, with a small spatula scrape the powder into a spice container and use it as a thickener for sauces by adding a little bit of water to the powder and adding it to the sauce like arrowroot.

Mashed Turnips

Turnips are easier to peel than Taro, but has a VERY earthy smell to them.  Peel the turnip, cut into small pieces and boil until fork tender. As a turnip matures it gets a nookie brownish center which I cut out so I would suggest to use smaller turnips than I did for mashing.  This is the first time I’m using a turnip as mashed potatoes, I have roasted them and they were incredible!  Okay back to nitty gritty, salt your water and boil until fork tender. I added about ½ tsp of garlic powder and onion powder to the boiling water.  The diced turnips boiled for about 20 min and are now fork tender, they smell not so earthy now, more like a rutabaga.   Strain the turnips with a colander, place back into the hot pot.  Add 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs of heavy cream and 1/8 to ¼ tsp of salt to taste, pepper to taste.  Even though the turnips were fork tender they were a lot harder to beat, they didn’t mash well, so I took a small hand masher and mashed them up first with the just the turnip and butter in the pot.  Then add the heavy cream and beat.  I tasted them at this stage and they really tasted like mashed rutabaga, I added a pinch of salt and a tsp of sour cream.  They were delicious but had the taste and consistency of mashed cauliflower.

Mashed Celery Root

I started off wondering how to peel this very odd looking root and cut off the top celery stalks and the bottom root but it had a lot of smaller “roots” that are cut off of the bottom leaving a lot of nooks and crannies where the ‘skin’ hides.  At first I tried to use a potato peeler but that didn’t work, so I used a knife to cut down the edges until all the side skins were peeled, then I tackled the bottom roots, I had to wedge cut away the crainey parts until all the peel was gone.  Immediately I noted the very powerful smell of celery and became very skeptical if this was going to work but I kept on with my mission.

Once the root was peeled I diced it into very small pieces put it in boiling water, coarsely chopped a shallot and an elephant garlic bulb, if you don’t have elephant garlic use 5 or 6 regular garlic bulbs.  Put them in the boiling water with the root and boil until the root is fork tender.  I did notice that celery root absorbed some of the water and had to add some more ½ way through the cooking.  Once the root was fork tender [about 20 min or so] I strained the water and placed the roots back into the hot pan, added some celtic sea salt and a splash of heavy whipping cream.  I tried to whip the root mixture with a hand blender and it was too fibery so I got a hand masher and mashed it all up and tried the hand mixer again and it was still not blending like mashed potatoes then I got an idea to put it in the blender.  I took some more heavy whipping cream, not much just a splash, you can always add more but if you put too much in the ‘potatoes’ will become too runny, then I put the mashed root into the blender and blended for a couple seconds and they came out perfect.

Of the three types of roots, in my opinion, the mock mashed potatoes I liked the best was the mashed celery root, which came to a complete surprise to me.

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