Cheese and Potato Purée

Here is another favourite dish, from Central France, that will send welcoming smells from the kitchen in the winter; I do not feel it is a summer dish. The traditional recipe used butter and cream. However, olive oil and thick Greek yoghurt make excellent substitutes.


  • 2 lb / 900 g potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 oz / 110 g butter or 4 fl oz / 115 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp cream or yoghurt
  • 8 oz / 230 g Gruyere, Lancashire or, traditionally, Cantal cheese, grated
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked potato into a saucepan and mash until smooth. With a wooden spoon, beat in the butter or oil, keeping the pan over a low heat. Stir in the cream or yoghurt, and then add the cheese, stirring until it has melted into the potatoes. Season to taste and serve immediately.