This is a recipe that was inspired by something I once in Hannover, Germany. Do not ask me the name of the restaurant, do not ask me the name of the dish. All I remember is that it is diagonally opposite the Hannover Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and that it was a small restaurant on two levels.
Dad and I had a few meetings to attend and decided to grab a quick lunch before heading from one to the other. He recalled the restaurant from an earlier visit to Hannover (I think he said he ate there about 15 years earlier). There was only one vegetarian item on the menu (I was vegetarian back them) and it was this baked potato roll, served on a spinach base with a cheese sauce.
This is one of the attempts I made to replicate the taste. It didn't turn out the same, but was quite yummy so I'm leaving it as a recipe in its own right.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
5-6 Large Potatoes
Cheddar Cheese (100 grams)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (Mashed)
3-4 Tablespoons of Flour
Salt, Black Pepper, Red chilli powder (to taste).
Cream Cheese Sauce
150 Grams of Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of fresh/heavy cream
1/2 cup of milk
50 grams Cheddar Cheese
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic (Mashed)
Salt, Black Pepper to taste.
1/2 Kg Spinach
1/2 a medium onion, diced fine.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3-4 spoons of the Cream Cheese sauce we made earlier.
Button Mushrooms 150 grams.
2 tablespoons olive oil.
1 mashed clove of garlic.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
2 tablespoons of chilli garlic sauce.
1 teaspoon of red chilli.
Lets start with the potatoes. Whilst these are being prepared you will usually have more than enough time to make the rest.
Clean them out and boil them (with a pinch of salt) till they are nice and soft. Peel the skins off them.
Now you can start to get the oven heated. Set the temperature for about 250 centigrade. Whilst it is heating mash the potatoes . Add in the Garlic, salt and pepper.
(If you are wondering how the colour slightly changed, I used baked garlic cloves. YUMMMM... will put up a post on that someday )
Spoon on the flour. This will help hold the potatoes together when you are rolling them.
Mix it all together. Mashing and mixing potatoes with your hands is highly therapeutic in my opinion. The mixture should feel like a dough that you can mold. If not, add a little more flour half a spoonful at a time.
If you want you can make a roll or mold it into any shape you want. I decided to stuff it with some cheddar which is optional. The cheddar makes the end dish quite heavy, but yummy.
Flatten it out into a rectangle. You should get one that is about 1/4 of an inch thick. You can make it as long or wide as you want.
Grate some Cheddar cheese and add some red chilli powder in it. Mix it together and layer it onto one half of the rectangle. Fold over the other half so it envelopes the cheese.
By now the oven should have come to temperature. Apply some olive oil onto the potato rolls. Place the potato rolls on an aluminum foil, onto a tray, and let it bake for about 30 minutes (or until the outside is nice and golden brown).
Mmmmm...they look and smell so nice and garlicy and cheesy when they come out. I'm telling you, baked garlic is simply divine.
Anyway, whilst they are being made you can get the rest of the stuff ready. Lets go for the sauce first. Its simple enough. Take a large sauce pan and heat up a little olive oil and some butter. Add in the garlic and let it sauté for a bit.
Bring it to medium heat. Add in the milk ,cream cheese, cream, and cheddar and stir till it becomes a nice smooth mixture.
The more you stir it around the smoother it will get. You really don't want any lumps of cheese in it. Add in the salt and black pepper to taste.
Keep it on the side and lets make the spinach.
Clean the spinach leaves, break off the stems.
We are going to blanch the spinach to preserve the taste. Keep the spinach ready in a strainer and put another pot of water to boil.
When the water comes to boil, put the strainer with the spinach into the pot. The boiling water should come through the pores in the strainer and submerge the spinach. Cook it for two minutes. The leaves should wilt, but they shouldn't lose their colour.
Once they are cooked immediately either submerge them in cold water, or put them under a tap to cool down. Spinach cooks even when removed from heat and thus you want to cool it down to stop the cooking process.
Squeeze out all the liquid you can by pressing the spinach. Take the leaves and shred/cut them.
Now in a sauce pan heat up the olive oil and sauté the diced onion. Once the onions caramelize add in the spinach leaves and stir them around a little bit. Now spoon in the cream cheese sauce that we have made and mix it all together. Let it cook for about a minute.
Last of all, lets make the mushrooms. This is really simple. Just add some olive oil to a pan and heat up some garlic and red chilli in it(This always makes me sneeze). Add in the cleaned mushrooms, cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not stir the mushrooms around yet.
Once you see the mushrooms caramelizing at the bottom where they are touching the pan, you can start stirring them. Recover them and let it cook for another couple of minutes.
By now they should have reduced in size. Add in lemon juice and chilli garlic paste and stir them around for a bit so it coats the outside of the mushrooms evenly.
Now just put everything together on a plate, garnish it with the sauce, and ENJOY!!!!