I may have mentioned before that I’m not a very good traveler. I feel like I should be a good traveler. And I’d really like to be a good traveler.
I’d very much like to be that sunglass-clad lady marching down the concourse, her crisp, belted trench flapping loosely at her knees, spinner rollerboard packed perfectly, jaunty neck scarf tied like some sort of Parisian pro, and strappy 3-inch heels shouting ‘Take that TSA!’.
Instead, if you catch me on the concourse, I’m that lady who left her sunglasses at home, juggling approximately 3 carry ons, approximately 4 half-empty bottles of Diet Coke, and approximately 1 epically over packed suitcase that will likely succumb at any minute to the pressures of approximately 20 extra outfits, 13 extra pairs of shoes and 8 extra pounds of toiletries. At any minute or just as it slides onto the baggage carousel, exposing my goodies to the 150 complete strangers with whom I just shared airspace. Lovely.
Yes, I’m that traveling fool you see slowing security screening lines, bogging down baggage claims, and sending stewardesses crying for their mamas in airports across the country. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t seem to get my traveling act together.
And it’s gotten to the point that I’ll start to get nervous about the process of traveling weeks in advance of an impending trip.
Because a case of the shaking, stuttering, sweats is always a fantastic addition to 3 carry ons, 4 half-empty bottles of Diet Coke, and 1 epically over packed suitcase. Duh.
So last Monday I left on a jet plane for fantastic trip involving potatoes. And as I worked out the kinks in my Nervous Nelly nerves, I decided to bake some potatoes, and eat some potatoes, in an effort to calm down.
Because you can’t go through the TSA line in the fetal position, silly goose!
And, let me tell you, this monkey bread came together quite nicely if I do say so myself.
I had been wanting to try this 2-ingredient pizza dough recipe for quite some time – I really think it’s a gem. For when you just need to get some Loaded Mashed Potato Monkey Bread into your tummy – STAT!
Seriously, though, the dough is the work of 3-5 minutes and then it’s just a matter of stuffing your little monkeys with some spicy mashed potatoes, crunchy chopped peppers, and creamy Manchego cheese. Pop those monkeys into a greased Bundt pan and you’re good to go!
I hear tell of ritualistic gatherings involving televisions, oblong leather balls, and packing your tailgate with preposterous amounts of tasty finger food… you may want to consider involving this Loaded Mashed Potato Monkey Bread in your next tailgating spread.
And speaking of packing, now that I’m back home I’ll be spending my week writing apology notes to stewardesses, TSA screeners, and baggage handlers across the land. Maybe some monkey bread would help to mend those fences? OK. I’ll be sure to stash some into my epically over packed suitcase before my next trip. You don’t think anyone will mind a little monkey bread on the baggage carousel, do you?
Loaded Mashed Potato Monkey Bread
Chef’s Note: I was preparing this monkey bread to be enjoyed by a party of 2 – you could easily double the recipes for the dough and the filling to produce 36 potato-filled buns instead of 18; as it is, the recipe for the mashed potatoes yields 5 cups, of which you only need approximately 1 1/2 cups for this monkey bread recipe. If you do choose to double the recipe, you will simply need to be sure to use a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan to accommodate all 36 of your buns.
recipe for the pizza dough adapted from Kidspot Kitchen
For the pizza dough:
2 c. nonfat Greek yogurt
2 c. self-rising flour
all-purpose flour (for dusting your work surface and your hands)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the mashed potatoes:
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into thirds
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic, ground
1 1/2 tbsp. ancho chile, ground
2 tsp. sea salt, finely ground
For the bun filling:
1 c. sweet mini peppers, stemmed, seeded, diced (bell peppers or any other type of crunchy pepper may be substituted)
1 c. Manchego cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 425°.
Lightly brush the inside of a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan with the melted butter and set aside.
To prepare the potatoes, place potato pieces into a large, heavy-bottomed pot of boiling water and boil until fork-tender, approximately 30 minutes. Remove cooked potato pieces and drain. Place potatoes into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix with butter and buttermilk on a low speed until smooth. Mix in the cumin, onion powder, garlic, ancho and salt, and once incorporated increase the speed of the mixer to whip potatoes to a smooth consistency. Whip for just 2-3 minutes and remove. Note that this recipe yields approximately 5 cups, of which you will only need approximately 1 1/2 for the monkey bread. You can store the remaining mashed potatoes in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To prepare the dough, place the self-rising flour and yogurt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Note that you can knead this dough to the proper consistency by simply working it with the dough hook at a low speed for 3-5 minutes, or you could opt to mix the ingredients to a loose dough and then knead it by hand for the same amount of time. Ultimately you’re looking for a shaggy, sticky, cohesive dough that has come together into a solid ball.
To assemble your bread, dust your work surface and hands with all-purpose flour. Pull off a golf ball-sized piece of dough and flatten it with your hand. Top the flattened dough with several teaspoons of mashed potatoes, a teaspoon of the diced peppers, and a teaspoon of the cheese. Note that the amount of filling that you use for each piece of monkey bread is somewhat subjective: you’re going to need to fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling and pinch it shut. If you overstuff your dough it will tear, so just eyeball it and do the best you can. Once you’ve folded and pinched your dough ball shut, brush it lightly with butter and place it, seam-side up, in the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Your finished, packed pan will only be approximately half full. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes; finished monkey bread will be deep golden brown on the top and sides. Set aside to cool before unmolding and serve with a tomato sauce like this one for dipping.
YIELD: approximately 18 large stuffed buns