Friday, December 2, 2011

French Friday with Dorie: Matafan (Fluffy Mashed Potato Pancakes)


MATAFAN ARE INDEED FLUFFY MASHED POTATO PANCAKES
I don't know anyone who does not love potatoes.  We often make hash browns or crispy home fried potatoes as part of our breakfast.  We also love a variety of pancakes, so why not potato pancakes?  Tasty potatoes can be either savory or sweet as their flavor is not strongly pronounced, but blends well with many other foods.  Recently I fried spudnuts that I covered in cinnamon sugar and they were fought over!  The ingredient list is not too far different.  Common to the spudnuts and the matafan are potatoes, flour, eggs, salt, fried in a fat...

We get into the pancake business at our house a couple of times a year where we flip over 800 pancakes in two hours.  Two weeks from now our church group will have its annual outdoor Christmas breakfast.  It's usually about 65^ by 9 am and the crisp morning air is invigorating.  The menu never changes, but the creative methods make it better every year.  We do omelets with the eater's choice of veges, cheeses, meats; ham and bacon; hot chocolate with lots of mix-ins/toppings; fresh fruit salad, and Kris' variety of pancakes.  Hubby and I help to organize the event and take on the pancakes which is a fun job as everyone comes to fill their plates and talk to us, and we always have a couple of fun helpers.  Last year for Christmas a friend who likes to help purchased, as a gift for me, a large, contractor size, drywall mud mixer...looks like a jack hammer with a large whirring blade...to mix my batter.  I have 10 gallon buckets and this machine can mix this quantity of batter in 1 minute.  It is a show!  

I make:  Pumpkin, banana, fresh blueberry, and plain buttermilk pancakes every year.  I offer 6 or 8 flavors of syrups, and about 20 fun toppings.  We bring in large grills,  and, according to the hungry bodies out in the fresh air, we make the best pancakes ever.  The only drawback is the day of prep and a day of cleanup, but it is worth all those good pancakes.

This year, I will consider adding potato MATAFAN pancakes to my menu!  This will be a fun new experience.

MY FLUFFY BATTER IS READY TO FRY
The recipe is simple and includes common pantry items.  My internet research suggested adding bacon fat or small pieces of bacon, or ham, buttermilk instead of milk, a little fresh rosemary, onion, peppers, cheeses or jams, spinach, etc.  It is recommended by those who often make these to fry them in butter on a cast iron griddle or pan.  They can be sweet or savory and the usual syrups will go well with these pancakes.

For today I tried:  Dorie's recipe plus minced onion, red pepper, salsa cheese and a dash of cayenne pepper.  The recipe as written looked a little bland and I was not in the mood for all the sweet syrups today that would have added to the tastes...so I went with a savory version.  I also added a little olive oil to the frying butter as my pan was hot and would have burned the butter without oil.


I was surprised at how quickly these pancakes cooked.  Since the "batter" was already warm and mostly pre-cooked, the pancakes, on a hot cast iron griddle fried in less than a minute total.  I like the look that the cast iron pan gives...extra browned which also adds good flavor.


FRYING MATAFAN ON A CAST IRON PAN CREATES LOVELY BROWNED PANCAKES
And I will confess that I cheated.  I don't usually peel my potatoes, which means that I can't easily use a ricer, so I mashed them quickly with a hand masher.  My kids have grown up with unpeeled potatoes and they think that mashed potatoes without peelings taste like instant potatoes...they actually request that I keep the peels. And that way my mix-ins blended into the batter just fine.  And I cheated with the potato cooking method...just microwaved them...I lacked enough time to do oven baking.  And...with this faster cooking method, I can add this potato pancake to my party pancake menu without a lot of fuss.

IT IS DELICIOUS!  Good enough to serve as an option to my hundreds of hungry friends in a couple of weeks.

Hope you all have a wonderful December, the most foodie time of the year.

20 comments:

  1. You have to post a video of your mud - er - batter mixer in action. That must be quite the sight! The matafan look great cooked in the cast iron skillet. I should have thought about that.

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  2. I am in awe of your annual pancake party. Wish I can be there! Thanks for your cooking tips to make this recipe quicker for weekend preparations. Love the extra add-ins to make this more flavourful!

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  3. I love the idea of your pancake party, that sounds like so much fun.
    Your matafan cakes look very fluffy and nicely browned. I usually use
    my microwave for baking the potatoes, but I had the time so I tried
    Doris's method. I also added a little oil to the pan for fear of too much burned butter. I agree that the recipe is a little bland, but I like all
    your additions.

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  4. Kris, you have such a loving & amazing family! I truly wish we lived closer - but we are not so far that we can't meet one day.

    I like that you added mix-ins & I think the pancakes can definitely use them. It didn't even occur to me to use a cast iron skillet, but I'll be they were just great that way!

    We're off to Charleston for a quick vacation, so I should have lots of photos & stories to share when we get back. Have a lovely week! xoxo

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  5. So glad to hear that this worked just as well with normally mashed potatoes. I don't want to make it again via the strainer route, but I definitely would if I could just use a masher. And next time, I'd add herbs/cheese, etc. Live and learn.

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  6. I can totally picture the show with the pancake batter! I definitely appreciate your dedication to the art of the pancake! It makes me feel like I didn't really give it my all this week!

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  7. I think you can claim professional pancake maker! I like the sound of your add-in's, the pancakes definitely needed a little more personality. Good luck with this years Christmas breakfast, sounds delicious!

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  8. Kris, Your pancake breakfast sounds like so much fun. What a great way to spend time with friends and family.
    I love some of the add ins you mentioned. We really loved these in my house. I ate them with sour cream. Next time I'm going to try a few of your suggestions. Your matafan look fabulous!! Have a great weekend!

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  9. I love all the add-ins in your batter. The pancakes look tasty!

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  10. You are the pancake queen! Love what you've done with these yummy pancakes...I think you've made them even better!

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  11. Yours look yummy! I wasn't sure if they would go well with syrup but it really was a great combo. Enjoy!

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  12. I love the rustic texture of your matafan! This is how I want mine to be!

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  13. It's almost midnight as i sit here and read your post, and all the pancake variations you mentioned have me craving some right now! Your matafan look great and I think they'll be a great addition to your church group!

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  14. We have used the mixer attachment for many unusual applications - it's actually very practical, even if others around you are amused by the approach :-)
    I also wanted to thank you for your kind words.

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  15. This reminds me a bit of baked gnocchi, I will try this. Thankfully I found some recipes on the net

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  16. Thanks for all the mix in ideas. Sounds like these are pretty versatile and can be jazzed up all kinds of ways.

    By the way, I too grew up with potato skins in my mashed potatoes and far prefer them that way. However, my husband did not and finds it weird that I leave the skins on. Leaving skins on food in general seems to be far less common here in europe, he even peels his apples & pears before eating them. Talk about weird! Our compromise is that whoever makes the potatoes gets to do them their way.

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  17. The description of your Christmas breakfast makes me want to go! It just sounds wonderful. I really like the sound of pumpkin pancakes...I went with the microwave method as well to save time and energy as I wasn't planning on using the oven for anything else that night. It is so much easier to make, them this way, isn't it? I am going to try them with the skins on next time.

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  18. Yes! to the mixins and the cheating. I used to microwave potatoes back in my vegetarian days and they were just as tasty and fluffy. These really needed some mix-ins and I wished I'd added some cheese and hot peppers of which we have tons in the fridge.

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  19. I agree - these were delicious!

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  20. How fun! Look delicious and perfect for breakfast! Potatoes are definitely a weakness!

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