The recipe began with a 28-ounce bag of Trader Joe's Mashed Potatoes, which already had milk, butter and salt mixed in, giving us a good head start.
The doctored potato mixture can be baked in small ramekins or mini muffin pans for small potato puffs, or rolled into balls and placed on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets for puffy potato pancakes.
Yield: Makes 24 bite-size hors d'oeuvres, plus leftovers
- 28 ounces (1 bag) frozen trader joe's mashed potatoes
- 6 slices applewood smoked bacon (about 6 ounces), cooked until crisp, then drained and cut into small dice (a generous 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup regular or low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
- 3/4 cup chopped scallions, white and light-green parts only (9 to 10 whole scallions)
- 4 ounces manchego cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready 24 small ramekins or mini-muffin pans sprayed with nonstick cooking oil spray, or 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Place the mashed potatoes (which look like small, round pods) in a large, microwave-safe bowl; cook according to the package directions. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes to a lumpy consistency. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the diced bacon, then add the remaining diced bacon and the sour cream to the potato mixture. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chopped scallions, then add the remaining scallions along with the cheese, salt and pepper. Mash together with a large fork until the ingredients are well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer the mixture to the ramekins or mini muffin pans; or roll generous tablespoonfuls of the mixture in your hands to make 24 small balls, placing them at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until slightly puffed and browned on top.
Garnish with the reserved bacon bits and scallions. Serve warm.
From Tom Mueller, chef of Pineapple Alley Catering in Clinton.
Tested by Tom Mueller and Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.