Potato Pups -- Fair Food Comes Home for Dinner

Some time ago, I told you all about fried coke, the latest in a long line of foods fried up by carnies. Their search for battered opportunities never seems to wane, but I've not yet seen fried mashed potatoes. We call them Potato Pups. To make them, start with mashed potatoes:

There are seven
Originally uploaded by greg.turner.

  • Begin with a half dozen potatoes--any variety should be fine
  • Peel the potatoes, and put the potatoes in a boiling pot
  • Put enough water in the pot to cover the potatoes and salt liberally
  • Place the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a boil
  • After about seven minutes, begin checking the potatoes by poking them with a fork
  • When the fork enters the potatoes easily, they are done
  • Drain the potatoes and mash them using a plain wire masher
    (how much work you put in will determine how smooth your potatoes will be. Keep in mind, however, that you're going to want them to hang together when you're frying them)
  • After you've mashed the potatoes, you can mix in additional ingredients (For the Potato Pups, my dinner host mixed in some finely shredded cheddar cheese)
  • Roll the mashed potatoes into balls--about half a golf-ball size worked best for us
  • Heat oil to 325 degrees in fryer or dutch oven or large pot
  • While waiting for the oil to heat, roll the potato balls in seasoned flour (for a special treat, you can grind instant potato flakes and try using those as a covering)
  • Carefully lower the coated potato balls into the oil and cook for about 2 minutes
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the potato balls from the oil and increase the heat (medium-high should be fine)
  • When the oil reaches about 350 degrees (or a little higher) lower the potato balls back in to crisp the outsides
  • Remove the potato balls from the oil and drain on paper towels or an inverted cooling rack
  • Serve with sour cream, bacon bits, broccoli, or whatever you normally use to doctor your potatoes

The potato pups are a wonderful complement to a casual evening of rented movies or good conversation. We enjoyed them as part of a catch-as-can meal that included french bread, pizza, and a fresh papaya served with a bright, flavorful dressing:

Mix 1/2 cup fresh kumquat juice and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with a 1/2 teaspoon of light brown sugar. Mix vigorously.

What to pair it with?
Zinfandel usually pairs well with all kinds of food, and tonight's zinfandel was no different. Seven Deadly Zins represents seven of the Lodi appelation's best wineries combining their crop to make a single, very drinkable wine. Seven Deadly Zins won't win any awards, but it is extremely friendly, mellow and jammy, and has lithe tannins and little alcohol heat. Being such an approachable wine, I'm sure you could serve it at most casual gatherings and have a real hit on your hands.

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