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How to make pomme purée

Pomme purée is basically mashed potatoes given the classical French treatment, but that short description doesn't really do this side dish (made popular by the late great French chef Joël Robuchon) justice. Irresistibly silky and deeply decadent, it gains its smooth texture thanks to a generous amount of butter stirred into the flesh of the potatoes, which is then loosened with a little milk. While mashed potato is rough and ready, easy to knock up and good at absorbing other sauces, pomme purée is made in a gentler way, gradually beating and folding the butter into the potatoes until they become a single, smooth entity that should sit alongside something equally luxurious.

Ingredients

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1
Peel the potatoes, placing them in a pan of cold water as you do so to prevent discolouration. Quarter the potatoes, making sure the pieces are all roughly the same size so that they cook evenly
2
Top up with cold water if necessary and heavily season the water with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft
3
Drain and leave to steam dry for a few minutes
4
Meanwhile, place the cream and milk in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat
5
Whilst still hot, push the potatoes through a mouli or potato ricer
6
Fold the cream mixture into the mash and add the butter. Bring the mash together quickly and efficiently until you have a silky smooth purée, and return to the heat if needed. Be careful not to overheat or over-mix though – you could split the cream if it gets too hot, and overworking the potato will make it gluey. Season with plenty of salt and serve immediately

Serving suggestions

Pomme purée is a side reserved for decadent dinners. Often served as part of a meaty main course, this is not a dish for those watching their weight. The Galvin brothers serve pomme purée alongside rich boudin noir, with green grapes providing slight reprieve from all the fatty richness on the plate. In Pierre Koffmann’s legendary pig’s trotter recipe, he flavours his pomme purée with a healthy dose of duck fat in place of butter, creating a rather unforgettable result.

Although many prefer to keep their pomme purée simple, feel free to add a little flavouring in the form of mustard, if you wish.

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