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Smoky Mashed Potatoes

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  1. Three 1-inch-thick slices of pancetta
  2. 4 ounces serrano ham, finely diced
  3. 2 teaspoons sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1/8 teaspoon anise seeds
  6. 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled
  7. Salt
  1. In a skillet, cover the pancetta with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes; drain and wipe out the pan. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch pieces and return to the skillet. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the pancetta is browned, 15 minutes. Add the ham and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate. Stir in the paprika, cumin and anise seeds.
  2. Using the tip of a chef's knife, tear off 2-inch chunks of the potatoes so they resemble boulders. Add the potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water to the skillet. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. Mash the potatoes. Stir in three-fourths of the meat. Garnish with the remaining meat and serve.