Aligot

Serves: 2-4
Approx cost: €3
Approx calories (per serving if divided by 4): ~400
Approx preparation and cooking time: 30 mins

If you ever plan to take a trip to Paris and you love a good steak, I strongly urge you to visit La Maison de l’Aubrac. The steaks are some of the best I’ve had in my life, but even better than that is their aligot. They will probably offer you a choice between some rather uninspired little herby chunks of fried potato, or this as an accompaniment to the steak. Seriously – if you want to miss out on an almost religious food experience, do not choose the herb chunks! Ok, ok, perhaps I’m hyping it up a bit much, but it really is that good! So what on earth is it anyway, this aligot, pronounced “ah-lee-go”, stuff? Well – it’s basically a gooey mess of potatoes and cheese – the best possible kind of gooey mess. It’s roughly 2 parts potatoes to 1 part cheese, all blended (yes, not just mashed!) together to create a smooth, fondue-like, stringy, cheesey side-dish which is probably one of the best accompaniments for meat I’ve yet encountered. That said, you can equally eat it with pretty much anything, as I did this time around (see the photo above), I had some grilled vegetables – aubergine, courgette and red pepper – and damn good it was too.

So, what do you need to bear in mind when you’re making this? It’s actually pretty easy. As long as you can boil potatoes and grate cheese then this shouldn’t really pose a problem :D. I used roughly equal parts Mozzarella and Comté cheese, but if you can find a cheese called “Tomme” then it’s better to use exclusively this. Luckily I’m in France so I have no problem finding these cheeses, but for readers from further afield it may be a bit more difficult. In any case, use a high-fat cheese which melts easily without coagulating too fast. Many cheddars are perfect for this, Cantal is also good. I’ve used milk to try and trim off a few extra calories, but you can use cream, or crème fraiche. Oh, and you’ll also need a Hand Blender. Got it? Excellent – now go forth and make your pot of cheesey awesomeness!

Ingredients

Aligot ingredients

- 600g Potatoes (~450g peeled weight)
– 200ml Milk
– 120g Mozzarella Cheese
– 100g high-fat hard cheese – Cheddar, Comté, Cantal etc (or replace both Mozzarella and this with 220g Tomme cheese)
– 30g Butter
– 6-7 Cloves of Garlic
– Salt

You’ll also need
- A Hand Blender

Instructions

  1. Start off by peeling the potatoes, chopping into chunks and placing in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.



    Boiling the potatoes

  2. Peel the garlic cloves and cut away the end, before cutting each clove in half. In a new saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Place the chopped garlic cloves into the melted butter and cook through for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The important thing is to remember that you’re not frying the cloves. You want the cloves to go mushy and soft, and you want the delicious garlic flavours to infuse into the butter, so keep the heat low, and ensure there is no sizzling.



    Cooking the garlic

  3. While the potatoes and garlic are cooking, grate the cheese(s) and set aside. Once the potatoes are ready, drain away the water.



    Grating the cheese

  4. If the garlic is now soft (can be pushed apart by a spatula or fork) add the potatoes into the hot butter and garlic and stir briefly before adding in the milk and bringing up the heat a little. Allow the milk to start steaming before adding in the cheese and stirring well until the cheese has melted.



    Mixing the milk and cheese

  5. Add about 1tsp of Salt before blending the potatoes and cheese for about 3-4 minutes, until very smooth, being sure that you’ve blended any remaining pieces of garlic. Taste the aligot to ensure it doesn’t need any additional salt.



    All blended up

  6. Heat the pan through on the stove to ensure it is hot, stirring constantly – you should see that the aligot is getting stringy. When it is nice and hot, serve out. You can either make a “puddle” on a plate and serve the meat or vegetables on top, or simply serve it on the side (or even directly from a bowl!). Enjoy!



    Aligot

Comments

  1. says

    Charles, your post reminds me of the wonderful, but very short trip I made several years ago to the Aubrac region. The beautiful Aubrac cows (yes, they are beautiful! they have very long lashes and beautiful eyes!), meeting my dear friend's family… We went to one of the shops for tourists and I saw the postcards with regional dishes recipes. I have bought several and remember aligot was the only dish I have never heard about. I was mesmerised and promised myself I would prepare it one day, but somehow I kept on forgetting… It is not a dish easily found outside of Aubrac region.
    Your aligot looks as guiltily luscious as it did on the postcard… I will try your recipe, but given the hot temperature I might wait for colder days.

    • says

      Thanks Sissi! You've made me want to go and visit it myself now. The cows with long lashes and beautiful eyes…! Makes me think of an animated movie with a cow in it… although I can't think which one it is now, lol! It's true – not many places serve aligot. That place in Paris is the only one I know of, but in general the French don't seem that big into mashed potato – not like the Brits. You can get it occasionally in some restaurants, as well as some variations, like "écrasé de pommes de terres", also great with some olive oil drizzled on top, sprinkled with salt and capers, but it's not like in England where you can get mash with just about almost anything :D

      I'd indeed recommend waiting a little until it's colder – it's best served in winter – nice glass of wine, some good red meat, aligot – I just had a sudden urge for it on the weekend :D

  2. says

    And it has garlic too?! This is definitely awesomeness! I can just imagine this with a side of steak – OMG! And I'm not a big steak eater, but with this…I could become a regular carnivore. :)

    • says

      Hope you can make it over one day Kay. I don't think I could live here forever but the city definitely has a wonderful atmosphere!

  3. says

    Oh, this is so gorgeous! It took me a while to 'spot' the aligot under your luscious grilled veggies… what a great recipe – I have never had aligot but have no doubt it would be well loved in our house. The recommendation for La Maison de l’Aubrac is very timely – our family is planning a trip to Paris in the spring… yeah!

    • says

      Hi Kelly – That's great! Have you been here before? Let me know if you're able to make it over, maybe we could all meet and have a drink or lunch or something if you have time spare! At the very least, maybe I could offer you some tips on best places/times to see specific things! :)

    • says

      Thanks Greg – it's certainly really good. Makes me want to go to the Aubrac region in France. I just looked it up and it's a good 7 hours solid driving so not somewhere I'll be going for a while methinks :(

  4. says

    I've never ever had Aligot… this is such an interesting read. Those instructions are so detailed that I am tempted to make this gooey lovely pot of potato topped veggies. Awesome!!

    • says

      Cheers Malli – You should try it with a good steak (assuming you eat steak). I think it's best that way. It was really good with the grilled vegetables too, but that was me being a bit lazy because it was already so hot when I made this. You should definitely give it a try though – so yummy! Hope you're having a good day :)

    • says

      Thanks Jenny – It is, isn't it?! Just the other day I discovered as well that "keylime pie" is *not* in fact a mixture of "kiwi and lime" (I thought it was :p) and is in fact made with something called a "keylime", which I never even knew existed!

      Just from your posts alone I've learned that you can make cake out of lentils! :D

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