Classic French Aligot

A bowl of classic French aligot
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Ratings (40)
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings French aligot
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
361 Calories
22g Fat
27g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 servings French aligot
Amount per serving
Calories 361
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 293mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 15g
Calcium 387mg 30%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A classic French aligot isn’t so much a side dish as it is a work of art. Humble potatoes and cheese are beaten together with crème fraîche until they form silky, smooth ribbons of puréed potato.

The aligot a deliciously hearty recipe, and it’s tempting to eat it all by itself in the dead of winter for its sheer comfort value, or accompany it with a rich steak for a luxurious meal. Once you do, it will be hard to go back to regular mashed potatoes.

Traditionally, Cantal, a semi-firm cow's milk cheese from the region of the same name of south-central France, is used in this recipe. Cantal has a mellow nutty flavor; if it isn't available to you, cheddar cheese can be substituted.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mashing potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche (or substitute equal parts sour cream and heavy cream)
  • 1 clove garlic (lightly crushed, but kept intact)
  • 3 cups Cantal cheese (or substitute good-quality sharp cheddar, grated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the potato quarters into a pan of cold, lightly salted water.

  2. Boil for 20 minutes, until they are tender. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't start to break up and become mealy.

  3. Once cooked, drain them in a colander.

  4. Mash the drained potatoes with a masher.

  5. Add the salt, white pepper, and butter, and then vigorously mix for 2 to 3 minutes until the potatoes fluff up a bit. Set them aside in the pan for a moment.

  6. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, bring the crème fraîche and garlic to just steaming. Do not boil, or the creme fraîche may break.

  7. Remove the garlic, and pour the hot crème fraîche into the mashed potatoes.

  8. Transfer the pan of potatoes to the stovetop over low heat; using a sturdy wooden spoon, beat the crème fraîche into the potatoes. By now, the potatoes will start to turn glossy. 

  9. Raise the heat to be medium, and beat in the cheese, 1/2 cup at a time.

  10. Continue beating the mixture over the heat until it forms a smooth, velvety texture, about 10 minutes. Do not skimp on this process. It is the sturdy beating that makes aligot so deliciously velvety. 

  11. Pour onto warm plates and serve immediately.

Mashing Potatoes

Ensure the potatoes you are using are specifically for mashing, not for fries or salads. If they are not the floury type, the potatoes will turn waxy and greasy when whipping rather than fluffy and light.

How to Keep Aligot If Not Serving Immediately

Aligot does not keep very well. However, if you must, it can be held for a short time by placing grease-proof paper like parchment on the surface of the potatoes, making sure it is in direct contact with the aligot. This method will help prevent a skin forming on the potatoes, which would make the aligot unpleasantly lumpy if you stir it in. 

This technique is suitable for all milk- and cream-based dishes which are prone to skin-forming.