Smashed Potatoes

I’ve been bored, and I’ve found myself making the same stuff over and over again. I needed a new recipe. Thankfully, I found one that seems to be a huge crowd pleaser.

This recipe started off as a way to get rid of some ingredients I had lying around: potatoes that were getting old, a package of bacon I’d only used once and was about to go bad, etc. So the first time, I didn’t measure anything, I just sort of threw it all together.

After he went home, my brother-in-law asked for the recipe for the smashed potatoes, which is where I got the name for today’s post (thanks, Jon!). Of course, I didn’t have one. I picked the easiest way to solve this problem: I decided to throw another dinner party and attempted to recreate it. I think it worked out well, and decided I’d share the recipe. Whether you decided to call this smashed potatoes, loaded mashed potatoes, baked potato casserole, or something else, it’s definitely a new party favorite that I’m sure I’ll make again.

I dedicate this post to Jon, for being such a big fan of the smashed potatoes and for giving it a great name.

Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
5 pounds russet potatoes
8 slices bacon
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces heavy cream
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Scrub the potatoes and individually wrap in foil.
3. Bake the potatoes until soft (about an hour).
4. Rinse the shrimp, and mix with the pepper, basil, salt and garlic. Set aside.
5. In a large pan, cook all the bacon until crispy. Set aside.
6. Sauté the shrimp in the bacon grease until they are pink (about 5 minutes).
7. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
8. Remove the foil, and scoop out the insides of the potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
9. Add in all ingredients except the cheese and mix well.*
10. Place mashed potatoes in a large pan, and top with shredded cheese.
11. Bake for 15 minutes.

*TIP: I used an electric mixer and I did this in batches.

Staples

Although it’s been a while since I’ve posted, you’ll be happy to know I have still been cooking. I’m finally all settled in my new place and making good use of my kitchen. It’s smaller than I would like, but I’ve still managed to find a way to make everything fit.

One of the things I’ve had to readjust to since moving back to NY is the longer commute times. This means weekly dinner needs to be as quick and painless as possible given the short time frames. This recipe, start to finish, takes about 25 minutes. Since most of the time, Haitian food is neither quick or easy to make, so this isn’t strictly Haitian. It does involve rice, though, so hopefully that will be enough to please all the Haitians out there.

This recipe was in large part based on items that I essentially always have on hand: rice and peas. I do also usually have frozen shrimp as well; it’s a good protein source but doesn’t take as long to prepare as most other meat (and no defrost time required).

If you’ll recall from my first rice and beans post, you can substitute just about any bean you’d like. The problem is that most beans take a long time to cook, and I don’t personally like the flavor of canned beans. Thankfully, frozen peas work just as well, and they don’t take very long to cook.

The recipe can also be made without the shrimp if you’d like to keep it vegetarian. I personally love both ways.

What are some of your staples?

P.S. I’ve portioned this out to my smallest sized recipe yet! Since I made this just for me, I didn’t want to go overboard. It makes about 2-4 servings.

Rice & Peas & Shrimp

Ingredients:
1/4 cup frozen petite peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cups jasmine rice
1 habanero pepper
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon chicken base
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
1 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
12 frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:
1. Rinse the shrimp, and mix with basil, black pepper, salt, chicken base, adobo seasoning, Creole Seasoning, garlic, and basil. Set aside.
2. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil  and cook shrimp until they are pink (about 3 minutes).
3. Add water, peas, and habanero and bring to boil.
4. While the water boils, clean the rice (remove any bad rice, rinse with cold water, and drain). Set aside.*
5. Add the rice and stir so that the peas and shrimp are well mixed with the rice. Be careful not to pop the habanero!
6. Boil until water is mostly evaporated (about 2-3 minutes).
7. Turn the heat to low and cover the rice. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.