Wednesday 16 March 2011

Potato Scones

I made potato scones as a side dish for supper tonight. Made from leftover mashed potatoes, they are not scones really—more like thick airy pancakes—but they are easy to make and surprisingly delicious.

The recipe I use for my potato scones comes from a Mennonite cookbook published as a fund raiser by a group of church women.  It’s soft cover, spiral bound, and all but falling apart from constant use. 

A very simple way of living is observed in Mennonite communities.  Careful management of resources is stressed and thrift plays an important part in household management.  Because of this, many of the recipes used in Mennonite kitchens are meant to be made from leftovers.

Small wonder my little cookbook is so well worn!  I have a pretty good library of cookbooks but few of them contain recipes actually built around leftovers.

Of all the dishes in my Mennonite cookbook, I make potato scones most frequently.  I turn to them often because, provided the basic proportions of the recipe are observed, they are infinitely adaptable.  I’ve made them with mashed yams, carrots, and squash…I even made them once with a combination of brown rice and creamed spinach.  They turned out very well. 

You can add most anything to the basic scone recipe to ramp up its flavour.  I have, at various times, stirred in green onions, sautéed yellow onions, various herbs, cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and chopped up left over meat.  All of these ingredients worked well.

Here are the basic instructions for making potato scones:
Measure your mashed potatoes as you turn them out into a mixing bowl.  For every cup of mashed potato, you will need an egg, 1/2 cup of flour, and a tsp. of baking powder.  Mix the egg into the mashed potato until they are well combined.  If you are adding extra flavouring ingredients, stir them into the potato egg mixture.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until a thick dough is formed.  Set a frying pan over medium heat and heat together equal parts of butter and oil until the butter is melted.  Put spoonfuls of batter into the hot fat and flatten them out slightly.  Cook the scones, flipping them once, until they are golden brown on both sides.  Serve hot, with butter or gravy.

Like most dishes in my Mennonite cookbook, these scones are not in any way slimming.  The recipes are written for farm folk who do hard physical labour all day and don’t need to worry about calories.  For the rest of us, these dishes have to be once-in-a-while treats but it’s still worthwhile getting to know them.  In learning about this food, I came to understand a lot about the community from which it originated.

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