Potato and Oil Purée

I rarely eat mashed potatoes outside of Thanksgiving time, and even then I usually opt for Candied Yams over traditional mashed potatoes.  When I decided to make Thomas Keller’s Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon, he suggested serving it with a side of mashed potatoes.  However, his  Purée of Garlic Potatoes recipe required a lot of heavy cream and butter, and while I know these two ingredients make for ultimate deliciousness, I typically try to keep their usage to a minimum in my cooking.  So I tried to find a recipe that didn’t require any kind of dairy and found the answer in my handy Essential Mediterranean Cookbook.  This Potato and Oil Purée recipe uses stock in place of milk and olive oil in place of butter which I think makes it healthier yet still packs plenty of hearty flavor.  You should choose the stock based on what you plan to served the potatoes with; I used chicken stock as I was serving with a chicken dish.

Only one tweak to the recipe: I cut down the amount of oil needed as the first time I made it I felt it was too oily.  The original recipe calls for 5 fl oz of olive oil, which is over 1/2 C and I felt that was excessive so I halved that amount.  I really enjoyed the results as the infused garlic and thyme stock gave the dish a unique and subtle flavor.  I did end up making the Purée of Garlic Potatoes later, and well it’s hard to compete with the taste of butter and cream, but I still find this to be an acceptable substitute.

Potato and Oil Purée (adapted from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook)

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Cooking Time: 20 min
Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 lb floury potatoes (Russet, Spunta, or Pontiac)
  • salt
  • 3/4 C stock (choose according to the dish the potatoes will be served with)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  •  1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • chives, finely chopped for garnish


Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover by at least 2 inches of cold water.  Season the water with salt (to where it’s practically seawater) and bring to a boil.  Cook the potatoes until tender but still firm.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the stock in small saucepan with the garlic and thyme.  Bring to simmering point, then remove from heat and allow to infuse.

Drain the potatoes and let them steam to evaporate excess water for 1 to 2 minutes.  Quickly peel the potatoes and mash with a potato masher.  We don’t have a legit potato masher, so we had to get a bit creative.  A combination of a spoon, fork, and electric mixer will do the trick…  A lot of cooking blogs say using an electric mixer is a no-no but I think it works perfectly well, especially if you like a very smooth and fluffy consistency to your mashed potatoes.

Strain the stock, return to the saucepan, add the olive oil and reheat gently.  Place the potato purée in a bowl and add the stock in a thin steady stream, stirring continuously with a flat wooden spoon.  Season with salt and pepper, then beat well until the purée is smooth.

Garnish with chives and enjoy with your favorite main dish such as Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon or Whole Roasted Chicken.

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