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Pommes Aligot: The Ultimate Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Easy and Creamy French Pommes Aligot Recipe - The Best Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Hailing from the volcanic region of Aubrac in south-central France, pommes aligot is the perfect fusion of mashed potatoes and fondue. This irresistible dish is known for its unique elastic texture that can stretch from pot to ceiling without breaking. Once a regional specialty, aligot has gained popularity on restaurant menus worldwide, including creative variations like taro-based versions.

What Makes Pommes Aligot Special?

Unlike traditional mashed potatoes, aligot embraces the development of potato starch to achieve its signature stretchy consistency. This means you can mix to your heart’s content without fear of overworking the potatoes. The high starch content also allows for a generous amount of melted cheese to be incorporated without the risk of separation, resulting in a silky smooth texture that stays cohesive throughout the cooking process.

Crafting the Perfect Pommes Aligot

Choosing and Cooking the Potatoes

Select waxy potatoes like Yukon Golds for a creamier, denser purée that complements the melted cheese texture. Cook the potatoes in heavily salted water with garlic cloves and thyme sprigs to infuse flavor from the start. Unlike other mashed potato recipes, skip the rinsing step to retain the valuable starch that gives aligot its unique properties.

The Cheese Factor

While the traditional recipe calls for tome fraîche, a regional French cheese, you can achieve excellent results with a combination of Swiss and Gruyère cheeses. This blend offers the perfect balance of meltability and rich flavor. Gradually incorporate the cheese while stirring over low heat to develop the elastic texture that defines pommes aligot.

Serving Suggestions

Serve pommes aligot piping hot, either directly from the cooking pot or in a warmed serving bowl to maintain its luscious, flowing consistency. In France, it’s often paired with sausages and other hearty meats. For a lighter approach, consider serving it alongside roasted vegetables or atop a bed of polenta. Remember, this is mountain fare designed to fuel you through chilly months, so don’t shy away from generous portions!

Pommes Aligot Recipe Details

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (24 ounces; 675g), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, 1 whole and 1 minced, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (27g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt use half as much by volume or the same weight
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces; 113g), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream (240ml), warmed, plus more if needed
  • 10 ounces (285g) mixed Alpine cheeses, such as Swiss, Gruyère, Comté, and/or Fontina, grated (see notes)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, submerge potatoes, thyme, and 1 whole clove garlic in cold water, ensuring at least 2 inches of coverage. Dissolve salt in the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander, discarding thyme.
  2. Use a ricer or food mill with the finest disk to purée potatoes back into the dried saucepan, incorporating butter cubes as you go. Add remaining minced garlic. Place saucepan over medium-low heat. Thoroughly mix potatoes with a silicone spatula until butter and garlic are fully incorporated.
  3. Gradually add cream in three portions, stirring well after each addition. Continue mixing and working potatoes, reducing heat if they begin to sizzle, until the mixture becomes thick and sticky, about 3 minutes.
  4. Incorporate grated cheese in small batches, stirring constantly until each addition is fully melted and integrated. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes more to achieve a thick, silky, smooth, and elastic consistency. The aligot should form long, stretchy strands when lifted from the pot.
  5. Season with salt to taste. The aligot should have a slow-flowing, lava-like consistency. If it’s too thick, gradually work in additional cream until desired texture is achieved.
  6. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately. Enjoy with sausages, meats, roasted vegetables, or over polenta. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a saucepan with a splash of cream, simmer, and stir until hot and the right consistency is restored, adding more cream as needed.

Notes

While tome fraîche is the traditional cheese for aligot, it’s scarce outside France. Opt for a mix of semi-firm Alpine cheeses with excellent melting properties, such as Swiss, Gruyère, Fontina, and/or Comté.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
422 Calories
33g Fat
19g Carbs
13g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 422
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 21g 103%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 1500mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 355mg 27%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 513mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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