WHAT IS ALIGOT?
Aligot, pronounced AHL-EE-GO, this potato dish is hard to describe. Some call it a potato-cheese fondue (it’s not) and others say it’s “cheesy mashed potatoes.” Also wrong. Aligot is a whipped potato dish fortified with butter, cream and cheese beaten together until you get the consistency of melted mozzarella or, maybe, slime (its hard to describe). What is indisputable is the comforting, delicious taste of this potato side from Central France. This Auvergne recipe is ideal winter fare–it’s too much of a belly bomb for warm weather and pairs perfectly with roast chicken or a good thick steak. In this mountainous part of France they use a local Tomme which isn’t widely available. In our recipe we use a well known neighbor – Cantal cheese.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING ALIGOT
- For best results, rice your potatoes
The key to getting this dish right is a potato ricer and ricing the potatoes while they’re still hot. Why a potato ricer? It breaks the potato into the smallest possible pieces without making it gummy–key for good mashed potatoes. This gadget should be your go-to for regular mashed potatoes as well.
- Other Ingredients
Bacon is often served with this dish. In terms of mixing in a second cheese, this dish was supposedly invented when a fondue recipe ran out of bread and the chef substituted some potatoes lying about. So yes, if you want to mix it up a bit try another cheese, but make sure Cantal is the majority of the cheese by weight and stay away from other cheeses with a very low moisture content (heavily aged like 3 year Gouda, etc).
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH ALIGOT?
Traditionally this dish is served with red wine from Auvergne. The red wines there are made from a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes. So if you can’t find a Côtes d’Auvergne A.O.C. wine (you won’t), look to red wines also made from those grapes. Food-wise, a nice grilled sausage and other hearty moutain-fare pairs well. A large stein of beer and a nice fire roaring on a dark winter night also make for a nice medieval moment 🙂 (written by Chef Stef)