Meditations

I dream about Yew’s Chef Grant Macdonald


Yew's delicious smoked mashed potatoes (photo: S. Gemma of Vancouver Bites!)

Confession time: I dream about Grant Macdonald, Chef at Yew Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

OK, I don’t actually dream about Grant specifically—though he is a really charming guy—but rather his silky-smooth, smoked mashed potatoes. This $5 side dish at Yew Restaurant and Bar has literally called to me in the night, drawing me to it. Appetizers, mains and desserts become secondary to their delight. When I asked Chef Grant how he does them, he smiled, walked away, and handed me the recipe. See? Love him.

Yew’s Smoked Mashed Potatoes Recipe:

2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
Applewood chips and a smoker
1 cup milk (approximately), heated
8 to 16 oz unsalted butter, cubed
Salt to taste

Place the potato cubes in a large pot with a steamer tray. Add enough water to steam (but not boil), cover with a lid and cook until fork-tender. Transfer potatoes to smoker and cold smoke according to machine’s instructions. Allow potatoes to smoke for 2 hours. Transfer potatoes back to steamer and reheat for 1 minute. Pass potatoes and cubed butter through a ricer or food mill. Add heated milk. Salt to taste. Be sure to re-pass the smoked potato purée through a fine sieve, if needed, to remove any lumps. The smoked potato purée should be soft and pillowy, forming a peak that just folds over onto the plate. The result is a rich and decadent potato purée. (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

Awesome, right? Sweet dreams!

NOTE: If you don’t have access to a smoker, or the time or patience, you can cheat the above recipe with a few good dashes of a quality liquid smoke product. The key is to find one without any artificial flavored or preservatives (just hardwood smoke and water) and not to add too much at once. I use a hickory flavoured product by Encore called “Woodland”. Works great in a pinch!

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