COOKING IN LANGLEY: Preparing for the Easter holiday family feast

Cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes might be side dishes, but they’ll make the meal says Chef Dez.

Easter is one of the special times of the year where our whole family gets together.

The cherished relationships we have with each other are rekindled and we celebrate with food and drink.

Two of our most popular side dishes with an Easter dinner are garlic mashed potatoes and homemade brandied cranberry sauce, so it is today that I share these recipes with you.

Please make note that potatoes are steamed, instead of boiled. They are always better in mashed potatoes as they don’t absorb as much water – water has no flavour.

Side dishes are never the “star of the plate,” but these will be a close second.

Enjoy…

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These will spoil you for any other mashed potatoes – very rich and flavourful.

5 russet potatoes, peeled and diced approximated 1/2 inch

1/2 cup butter, cubed

6 – 8 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup whipping cream

Steam potatoes over boiling water for approximately 20 minutes until tender.

Drain water out of the pot and put cooked potatoes in the pot.

Add the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Mash by hand until almost smooth.

Add the cream and mash again until smooth.

Taste and re-season with salt & pepper if necessary.

Makes approximately 6 – 8 portions

.

Brandied Cranberry Sauce

Very intense flavour – a homemade cranberry sauce to be proud of.

1 – 340g package fresh cranberries (approximately 3.5 cups)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup brandy

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped

pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed medium-sized pot. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil uncovered.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook mixture for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until desired consistency is reached, while occasionally stirring and mashing berries with a wooden spoon.

Remove from the heat; transfer the sauce into a different container and cool in the refrigerator. Once cooled, remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Makes approximately 2 cups

.

Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

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