This recipe came around completely by accident, as so many of the best of them do. I was recovering from a throat infection and hankering for something soft and soothing, so started to make myself a pile of mashed potatoes. And then, one of my readers sent me a recipe from the New York Times for a buttery polenta topped with mushrooms. Not dissimilar to a dish I had eaten in Palomar, Soho, and greatly enjoyed, but my spuds were already boiling and I didn’t have any polenta to hand. I’m not sure I ever have done. I tried to make do with mashed potatoes, but the seed of sweet creamy corn had been planted…and so…I turfed half a can of sweetcorn into my mash and pulverised it. And oh, I’m so glad I did. This recipe should ideally serve four as a side dish or a base to a main, but, well, mine didn’t…
Serves 4, or doesn’t, at 17p each
500g potatoes, 24p (£1.90/4kg, Sainsburys Basics)
a good pinch of salt, <1p (25p/750g, Sainsburys Basics)
a generous knob of butter, 6p (£1.40/250g)
half a tin of sweetcorn, around 100g, 15p (30p/200g, Sainsburys Basics)
a pinch of pepper, <1p (Natco, £1.40/100g)
a shake of nutmeg, optional, <1p (£1/50g)
a good grind of strong cheese, 18p (£2.40/200g)
Finely slice your potatoes and toss them into a saucepan. Cover them with cold water, and a good pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer on a medium-low heat, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft. You can test them by poking a sharp knife or fork into the pan – if they yield with no resistance, they’re good to go.
when the potatoes are cooked, drain the corn and toss it into the pan. Heat for another minute or two, the warmer corn will be easier to work with.
Drain the lot and tip back into the pan. Add the butter, a generous pinch of pepper, and the nutmeg if using. Mash vigorously until roughly smooth, using a fork or potato masher.
Grate in your cheese, and stir well. Serve piping hot, and generously.
To make it vegan, simply replace the cheese with a strong vegan alternative, or leave it out altogether and add a little more salt.
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