Okay, I’m going to say it so you don’t have to: these are ugly duchess potatoes. I am well-aware of this! Most Duchess potatoes look like ethereal little clouds on a baking sheet, while mine are rather inelegant blobs. But see, these aren’t regular duchess potatoes–they’re healthier duchess potatoes. So you have to compromise on looks a little bit, but the good news is that there’s no compromise on flavor. (And that’s really good news, right?!)
I had this idea floating around in my head for a while, but it took me a few tries to perfect it. Typical duchess potato recipes call for egg yolks, butter, and heavy cream. I wanted to make a healthier version that cut down on all those bad things and substituted half of the potatoes with cauliflower. So here’s how my lighter duchess potatoes compare with the real thing (based on one serving of six potatoes):
(Okay fine, it wasn’t sorcery. Ruin my fun!)
In addition to substituting half of the potatoes with cauliflower, I was able to omit the butter altogether by using fat-free plain yogurt in its place. The first time I tried making these, I used a small amount of butter and the result was very dry and bland–the yogurt adds a little bit of moisture and a tangy, sour cream-like flavor. (Yes, I still hate yogurt! But I don’t hate it in things.) With the yogurt already adding some creaminess, I opted to add skim milk instead of heavy cream. And then I added cheddar cheese and chives for a boost of flavor.
One thing I realized in making these, though, is that cauliflower just does not pipe well. I tried changing proportions, making the mixture wetter and then drier, and no matter what I did, I could not make these healthier duchess potatoes as pretty as the original. So maybe these aren’t holiday party worthy, but they are definitely a great side for a Sunday dinner–they’re not so nice to look at, but they taste really good.
These duchess potatoes are lower in calories and fat than the traditional version. The secret? Replacing butter with yogurt, heavy cream with skim milk, and half the potatoes with cauliflower. They’re not as pretty, but they taste just as good!
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