Make-ahead potato and pancetta puffs

Fancy ‘tater tots’ the whole family will love!

These little beauties were inspired two things: 1) my love of pierogis and 2) a big batch of leftover mashed potatoes. While their taste is evocative of pieriogi filling, they are a whole lot easier to make. I wanted something to serve with grilled sausages and have since made these as a side dish for fish as well, plus as part of a brunch buffet. Because they’re delicious at room temperature, they’d be terrific tucked into a lunch box. You can bake them up ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze, as they reheat beautifully. I chose to add crispy pancetta to my puffs but you could easily use bacon or ham instead, or simply omit for a vegetarian version.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced pancetta
  • 2 cups (500 mL) mashed potatoes, cooled to room temperature
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely minced chives or green onion tops
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: aioli or sour cream and lime wedges

Method

  • Cook diced pancetta in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
  • While pancetta is cooking, grease 24 compartments of mini-muffin pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Put the mashed potatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Add the beaten eggs, cheeses, minced chives or green onions, salt & pepper and cooked pancetta. Beat together with a fork until well blended; it should have a thick, somewhat smooth dough-like consistency.
  • Use a cookie dough scoop or two small spoons to fill the muffin pans completely with the potato mixture.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown and cheese has melted.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 3 – 5 minutes. Carefully remove the potato puffs from the pan using a sharp knife. Serve warm or at room temperature with aioli or sour cream and wedges of lime.
  • Leftover puffs can be reheated in the microwave or, wrapped in foil, in a 325F oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

Makes 24 mini puffs.

About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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