RECIPE: Pommes Aligot, A Very ‘Cheesy Potatoes’ Recipe
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Pommes Aligot (pum AH-lee-go) is a whipped mashed potato dish blended with butter, cream, crushed garlic, and almost as much melted cheese as potatoes.
This is not “cheesy mashed potatoes.” It’s a cross between whipped mashed potatoes and cheese fondue.
It’s luxurious, rich, and a perfect marriage of silky potatoes with creamy melted cheese (photo #1).
Like fondue, Pommes Aligot (Aligot Potatoes) is ready to eat when it develops a smooth, elastic texture (photo #2). Like fondue, as it cools, the elasticity wanes.
Pommes Aligot originated in the southern Massif Central of France. It is commonly found in three regions—Auvergne, Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées—and the départements of Aveyron, Cantal and Lozère.
Potatoes came to Europe from the New World in the 16th century, engendering the development of many potato dishes, including numerous recipes that included cheese.
But Pommes Aligot is not that old. Created in the Aubrac area of France, the recipe is distinguished by the type of cheese used: a local cheese, laguiole (LAY-ole). It’s also called tomme de laguiole or tomme d’auvergne, after the shape of the cheese (photo #3).
Laguiole cheese is said to have been created in the 19th century at a monastery in the mountains of Aubrac, a plateau in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.
The milk came from cows in the alpine pastures. According to historical accounts, the monks shared their recipe with the local buronniers—the owners of burons, or mountain huts, where cheeses were once made, rather than transporting the milk down to the towns below [source].
Laguiole received Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (A.O.C.) protection in 1961. It can’t be made anywhere else.
Cantal cheese, made in a different part of the Auvergne, tastes similar and is used as a substitute. Since laguiole and tomme d’Auvergne are hard to find outside of the region, it’s a better bet; as are gruyère and/or mozzarella, often used in the U.S.
Serve Pommes Aligot with roasted meat or poultry, more casually with sausages, or with a mixed grill.
This is just one of many delicious recipes from the Idaho Potato Commission. Browse through the collection for more potato perfection.
1. ADD the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt (the water should taste a little salty).
2. BRING to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. While potatoes are cooking…
3. HEAT the cream and garlic over low heat in a small saucepan. When the potatoes are ready…
4. DRAIN the potatoes and push them through a potato ricer while still hot. Stir the potatoes for one minute over low heat with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant spatula. This lets some of the moisture evaporate.
5. STIR in half of the butter, half of the cheeses and half of the warm garlic cream. Add the salt and pepper. Continue stirring until cheese has melted.
6. STIR in the remaining butter, cream, and cheese. Stir vigorously until smooth and stretchy. Garnish with the chives and serve hot.