This post is sponsored by Idahoan Foods.
Interest in dishes from far-flung locales has been on the rise in recent years, but a craving for classic comfort foods is also coming to the fore. Chefs are putting more traditional, homestyle dishes on the menu to appeal to diners hungry for familiar flavors.
In fact, food traditions such as meatloaf, hush puppies, regional barbecue flavors and stews are among the comfort foods showing up on 2018 menus, research chefs from Culinary Culture wrote in a blog post.
Part of comfort foods’ appeal is that they tap into nostalgia, reminding diners of Sunday suppers, special holiday feasts or other meals eaten at home. Some chefs put an upscale spin on comfort food classics, but simple goodness and unfussy presentation are a key part of their appeal.
To help foodservice operators tap into this trend, Idahoan Foods rolled out its Idahoan Rustic Homestyle Russets Mashed Potatoes product. Formulated with lumps and peels, Idahoan designed the product for foodservice operators that want to serve a more authentic, homestyle mashed potato.
“Lumps bring authenticity while peels bring necessary nutrients as well as a rustic look,” said chef David Macfarlane, director of culinary national accounts for Idahoan Foods. “It shows the consumer they are enjoying delicious Certified 100% Idaho Potatoes packed full of flavor with a wholesome texture which complements the proteins and vegetables that usually accompany potatoes.”
To prepare Idahoan Rustic Homestyle Russets Mashed Potatoes, foodservice operators mix the product with boiling water in a steam table pan. The simple prep allows just about any type of foodservice operation to offer rustic mashed potatoes -- even high-volume eateries where boiling and mashing large quantities of potatoes wouldn’t be possible.
Once the product is prepared, the mashed potatoes can be served as a simple side dish or used in the creation of other classic comfort foods. Idahoan Rustic Homestyle Russets Mashed Potatoes are lightly buttered and seasoned, making them a versatile option for pairing with meatloaf, pork chops or fried chicken, or using as a topping for a hearty shepherd's pie.
The filling quality and versatility of mashed potatoes also makes them a perfect ingredient for tapping into another trend -- plant-forward eating. Dishes in which meat is a supporting player are one of Datassential’s top ideas for 2018 presented in the January 2018 issue of Foodbytes. The publication references colcannon, an Irish dish “made of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, milk or cream, butter, and only sometimes a little ham or bacon for flavor,” as a way to put vegetables front and center in a dish that’s hearty and comforting.
Potatoes are a cornerstone of comfort food dishes all over the globe, Macfarlane said. “The versatility of potatoes can be attributed to why they are so successful in cuisines from all around the world -- from potato salad in Tokyo to aloo gobi in India. Mashed potatoes are no different.”
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