Oven Mashed Potatoes & Grilled Halloumi Cheese Topping

I love potatoes in every form and shape but mostly I love potatoes in any way in which they are cooked. I love fried potatoes in pure olive oil, as the Greeks know how to cook so well, I love french fries and of course potatoes au gratin as the French know, roasted potatoes in lard with thyme as the English know better and I love mashed potatoes. Although I know for a fact that mashed potatoes are served for an American national day, thanksgiving day, I believe that mashed potatoes are French too, and they are called “puree” which means mashed.
But here I would like to share with you my version of mashed potatoes, the Cypriot version, where mashed potatoes are mixed with this unique semi hard Cypriot goats and sheep cheese, Halloumi Cheese.

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Level of difficulty: 3/5

Serves: 4

Calories: 280 per serving

Fat: 8.8 g

Protein:3.93 g

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes – washed and peeled
  • 125 gr salted full fat butter
  • 1/4 of a glass of full fat milk (lukewarm)
  • 1 packet of “halloumi” cheese – finely grated

Directions

In a large casserole pour about 1 Litre of water and a generous pinch of sea salt and bring to boil.

While it boils cut your potatoes into thick slices.

Once the water boils well, pour in the potatoes and cook them well – until nearly melted.

In the meantime preheat oven at 180c.

Remove the potatoes from the casserole and pour them in a drainer to drain well.

Choose a new pot (oven proof) and pour in the well-drained potatoes and using a big fork, mash your potatoes well until you see a chunky soft velvet mixture.

Bring the milk to boil but don’t leave the milk to be very hot.

In the meantime, put the butter into the soft hot mixture and stir it a bit until the mixture is soft and velvet.

Once the milk is ready pour it in the mixture but be extra careful so as it’s not too much and you have a soup instead of a velvet mixture outcome.

In this velvet, soft mixture place, less than ½ of your grated “halloumi” cheese and stir well. If it is too thick add a little more milk.

Sprinkle the rest of the grated “halloumi” on top of your mixture.

Before you place the potatoes in your oven, turn the grill button function and place the mashed potato mixture in the oven but not too near the grill, so as not to burn.

Cook until golden brown.

Athena’s Tips

Perhaps the most important thing with mushed potatoes is the mixture that varies accordingly from super velvet soft to chunky. If you want a velvet soft mixture make sure you mash your boiled potatoes very well and that you constantly stirring the mixture. If you want a chunky mixture, smash the potatoes well but do not stir all the time.

Mashed potatoes don’t have a miracle finish. Some people like a thick mixture, others like it more buttery and some more milky, so feel free to play with the mixture and the ingredients until you end up with the taste you love the most.

Halloumi cheese is internationally known, this is why it is found all over the world. Find your halloumi cheese in major supermarkets, food halls and food markets. Always check expiration dates and make sure the colour of the cheese is white. A halloumi cheese that it’s been exported should be tight in it’s plastic packaging. If the packaging is “swollen” don’t buy the particular one and choose another.