Give Mashed Potatoes A Spanish Twist With Paprika And Bacon Fat

The beauty of mashed potatoes is the classic appeal and endless versatility. With that in mind, it's no surprise that so many different cultures and countries have their own take on the comfort food favorite. One starchy take worth adopting? The Spanish patatas revolconas, a mashed potato dish that makes use of a hefty dose of paprika and rich pork.

This luxurious recipe hails from the mountainous center of Spain, in regions such as Toledo and Avíla. There, restaurants prepare patatas revolconas with the most famous Spanish condiment, smoked paprika, and a traditional fatty pork cut, often the marinated jowl (known as papada adobada), or with simple bacon, sausage, or torrezno (deep-fried pork belly).

Once a humble dish enjoyed by the goat herders of the region, it's now more commonly enjoyed as a bar tapa, or even as a decadent topping for fish and meat. The signature flavor combination of paprika and pork fat works in concert to create a deeply smoky and savory batch of mashed potatoes. Oftentimes, there's such a large amount of paprika that the mashed potatoes will turn hot orange in color. Best of all, you can make this Spanish dish in your home kitchen with little fuss.

A fresh take on patatas revolconas

There are several ways you can go about making your own batch of patatas revolconas. You'll begin by boiling roughly two pounds of peeled potatoes until they're tender. Reserve about 2 cups of this potato cooking liquid for later. From there you'll fry up your selected pork. Some recipes opt for fatty slab bacon or pork belly for a super rich version of this dish, while leaner recipes may just use high-quality Iberico ham or plain bacon. 

You'll slice your pork (about 1 pound) into smaller batons and fry them to crispy perfection, pouring off all but ⅓ cup of the fat for your potatoes. Then quickly toast a few cloves of garlic and about 2 tablespoons of paprika in the pork fat before blending or mashing that paprika-garlic mixture with a half cup of reserved potato water until smooth.

From there it's about bringing all the components together. You'll mash your potatoes and add your paprika mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. If you need a smoother texture, add a bit of the reserved potato water until you reach your desired consistency. Top with your crisped-up bacon bits and enjoy this stateside take on a Spanish classic.