Without a doubt, Aligot is the best mashed potato you will ever eat. This French classic is basically a thick, unctuous potato and cheese purée with a stretchy yet smooth texture.
The traditional ingredients are potatoes, garlic and tome fraîche, with many chefs often adding a gruyère or even Beaufort for a more complex flavour. Here at Partisan however, we love to recreate this French classic with British cheese. Taking inspiration from the wonderful Felicity Cloake (The Gaurdian) who replaced tome fraîche with the flavourful territorial cheese, Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire. Then we took it one step further with the addition of Cornish Kern, a delightful British take on an aged Alpine style cheese.
Aligot is said to have originated in the monasteries of the Aubrac region of France during the 12th century where, origionally, it was made with broth, bread and tome fraîche.
This soup was adopted by local farmers, who replaced the bread with potatoes during a series of bad wheat harvests in the 19th century. A firm favourite on Gaelic Christmas dinner tables, this dish has really stood the test of time and can be found on the menu of many high end French bistros.
Aligot makes the perfect accompaniment to a beautifully seared Côte de boeuf and to my delight as a midlander, is also often served alongside pommes frites. I love a bit of double carb action!
But for me, nothing beats Aligot with sausages braised in a red wine sauce and shallots, perfect for the chilly winter nights we are experiencing at the moment.
Brit-Aligot – The Recipe
A simple dish, Aligot is, at its heart, a cheesy mashed potato. The ingredients you select however make such a difference to the final product.
Potatoes – Flourey potatoes with a high starch content such as a Maris Piper or a Rooster work best for this recipe. Try to steer clear of anything too waxy.
Garlic – The jury is out on wether this French staple should be included but I think it adds a certain complexity to the dish.
Butter – This is by no means a healthy meal but the addition of wonderfully salty butter adds some silky decadence to the finished dish. We used Longmans Salted Butter which is made in the West Country and has delicious salt crystals scattered throughout
Double Cream & Full Fat Milk – Use real double cream (no UHT substitutes please!) and source the best quality full fat milk you can find. I love Jersey Cow milk which you can find in most good supermarkets.
The Main Event – The Cheese
Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire –Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire is an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese, handmade by Graham Kirkham, third-generation cheesemaker and his team. This territorial farmhouse cheese is moist, rich and creamy, with a ‘buttery crumble’ and a fluffy, light consistency that melts in the mouth, absolutely perfect for this Brit-Aligot recipe.
Cornish Kern – Crowned Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards 2017, Kern is a hard farmhouse cheese with a rich buttery taste and caramel notes.
Originally derived from a Gouda style cheese, it is made with the superbly rich Cornish milk from Lynher Dairies own herd of Ayrshire cows. The addition of a nutty Alpine starter cultures creates a close texture and delicious flavours. They scald the curd to encourage Kern’s caramelised notes, and then press it into 4kg moulds. Pressure is applied slowly after which they float the cheese in a briny bath for two days. After painting on its handsome breathable black wax coating, it is then left to mature for sixteen to eighteen months.
As a World Cheese Supreme Champion, Kern (which means ’round’ in Cornish) has received global attention and praise and is the best example of a British alternative to an alpine cheese, making it perfect for adding flavour and complexity to our Aligot.
- 650g of floury potatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 70g of good quality salted butter
- 70ml of double cream
- 180ml of full fat milk
- 150g Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire cheese (gated/rind on)
- 150g Cornish Kern cheese (grated/rind off)
- Plenty of salt and pepper to season
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
- Peel your potatoes and garlic and boil until they are tender and ready to mash.
- Drain the potatoes and leave to steam dry while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Add the cream, butter and milk to a separate pan and bring to the boil, grate your cheese and make sure your weights are correct now you have removed the rind of the Kern.
- When the butter is melted and mixed in Roth the cream and milk you can add your pores. Use a ricer to crush the potatoes and garlic builds into the pan with the buttery milk.
- Now add in your cheese and begin to beat!
- Aligot is not for the faint hearted, it will now require 20 minutes of beating with a whisk or wooden spoon. Keep it over a medium/low heat, taking care not to burn it
- You are waiting for the mixture to take on a stringy, stretchy consistency. Do not rush it! You will see instantly when it is ready
- Enjoy with a steak or braised Sausages and a huge glass of red!
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