For when you feel like eating a mountain of potatoes.
The classic early 80s Betty Bossi cookbook Aus Mutters Kochtopf provides the perfect recipe for when you're craving a whack of potatoes—the Kartoffelberg, or Potato Mountain.
The Betty Bossi cookbooks of the 1980s are rife with decadent and whimsical recipes like the Kartoffelberg, plus numerous takes on Swiss classics with adjectives to denote special ingredients: Exotic (add a banana), Californian (add a can of corn), or Japanese (add soy sauce).
The Potato Mountain is actually more of a take on a British classic, Shepherd's Pie, only with a thicker filling and a bacon garnish.
This recipe is taken from Aus Mutters Kochtopf, Betty Bossi Verlag, 1984, pg 121, with slight adjustments.
For the mashed potatoes:
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed
200 ml milk
pinch salt, pepper, and nutmeg
For the filling:
2 tbsp oil
500 g ground meat
200 g frozen peas
100 ml vermouth or white wine
1 tbsp mustard
pinch salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon
2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
200 ml milk
For the garnish
5 rashers of bacon, cut into thin vertical strips
For the mashed potatoes
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, adding a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and slide off a paring knife when pricked (the time will vary based on the variety of potato).
Once they are cooked, drain the potatoes and shake them really well, you want them to be quite dry. Now either add them back to the pan and mash them with a potato masher, or put them through a passe vite, adding the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Put aside and let cool.
For the filling
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the ground meat and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the meat has browned completely, add the onions. Cook for about three minutes, then add the peas. Once they are mixed in, add the wine or vermouth and cook for another minute.
Turn off the heat and add the seasonings and mustard. Pour the meat mixture into a large bowl and give it a good mix.
In a separate, small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Once it starts to steam a little, add the crustless bread, and mash it with a fork. Turn off the heat. Keep mashing the bread until it has mostly disintegrated. Leave this to cool for a moment.
Once the bread mixture has cooled, add the egg, mixing well. Add this to the meat and mix well.
Assembly and baking
Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6
You need a 2 liter baking dish—any shape will do.
Take one third of the mashed potatoes and spread on the bottom of the dish.
Add all of the meat mixture, and spread evenly.
Add the rest of the mashed potatoes, either making a smooth top, or a whimsical mountain top.
Arrange the bacon slices in a pleasing manner.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and the potatoes start to brown around the edges.
Serve with gravy (recipe below).
- You can use any kind of ground meat, or a mix. If you have a leaner meat, like turkey, it can be a bit drier so gravy is a good addition (recipe below).
- If you like a very brown potato crust on the top, pop it under the broiler for a few moments.
- The bacon shrinks. I was so focused on arranging the bacon to look like a mountain that I totally forgot the bacon would shrivel when baked.
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion or shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp flour
300 ml stock (or a mixture of water, wine, and stock)
splash milk or cream
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Grate the small onion and garlic directly into the pan. Cook this for a couple of minutes.
While whisking, add the flour. This will clump up into a buttery, floury mass. Add the liquid slowly, still whisking. It will eventually all come together. Keep whisking and bring the mixture to a boil.
Strain and serve.
I don't have a proper gravy boat, so I use this little yellow teapot exclusively for gravy. Works a charm.