I like to picture Sam’s father, Hamfast Gamgee (otherwise known as “the Gaffer” or “Old Gamgee”), holding court at The Ivy Bush and challenging his fellow hobbits to make some good old mashed potatoes as pungent as possible. The Gaffer would most likely have the upper hand, being an accomplished gardener, of course. He’d know where the tastiest Shire scallions and creamiest potatoes would be growing—in his own garden.
Please follow this link to my blog for the Savory Seasoning recipe! Or, I’ll make you a batch—head over to my Etsy Shop Elegant Sufficiencies and order your own: Savory Seasoning in a Jar or (the cheaper version) Savory Seasoning in a Ziploc Bag.
“The Gaffer’s Potentially Pungent Potatoes”
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon salt
2 quarts water
½ cup soft salted butter
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon “Shire Seasoning” (Savory Seasoning, see above)
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups scallions, thinly sliced
6-7 ounces Bleu cheese (1 cup) *
⅓ cup salted butter
⅓ cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray or lightly grease. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and water. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium/high and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, 15-20 minutes. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid, then drain the potatoes well by partially covering the pot with the lid. Add the butter, cream, “Shire Seasoning,” ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and reserved cooking liquid. Mash this either by hand or use a hand mixer (you can leave it rather chunky or mash until it is completely smooth, it is your choice—and stop here if you simply want some good mashed potatoes).
Add the scallions and cheese and combine; pour into the prepared dish. Microwave the ⅓ cup butter in a small glass bowl in 20-second intervals until melted, then combine with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 12.
* The potential pungency comes not only from the scallions, but also from your choice of Bleu cheese—Gorgonzola is rather mild; Bleu is stronger; and a Roquefort is stronger still. Try a Stilton, or you can simply use a purchased garlic/herb cheese.
These are called Potentially Pungent Potatoes in my cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available exclusively in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. She blogs occasionally at Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page or visit (and follow!) her Twitter feed. Staff Reporter.