A friend of mine likes to play a game when we're all sitting around drinking and playing records called "What's your million dollar idea?"

On one particularly festive evening someone postulated that they'd like to open a Mexican restaurant that had side dishes that weren't rice and beans.

We volleyed that one around for awhile with folks talking about how good enchiladas would go with green beans, fried corn, mashed potatoes and myriad other non-Mexican options.

I'm always writing recipes so I really took this evening to heart once I got home and sobered up a bit.

Here's my recipe for Mexican Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 lbs Potatoes, Russet or Kenebec

1 lb Poblano Chiles, Roasted, chopped

4 oz Butter, melted

8 oz Crema Mexicana, this is the thick, delicious cousin to sour cream

1/3 c. Milk, evaporated,warmed

1.5 T. Cumin, always better if you toast the seeds and grind them into powder

Method

* Peel potatoes

* Cut each potato into 1/6ths

* Rinse thoroughly

* Steam potatoes for 15 minutes

* Remove from steamer and rinse with cold water

[ cooking note: this removes some of the starch and prevents the potatoes from becoming gummy ]

* Steam for 15 minutes more or til potatoes are tender

* Remove from steamer and place in large mixing bowl

* Take a wire whip and beat potatoes as you add the butter, chiles, milk and cumin [some folks like to use a potato ricer or masher but nothing beats a heavy wire whip to make your potatoes creamy]

* Adjust flavor with salt

* I like to sprinkle them with a little ground chile arbol as a finishing touch

Voila! Delicious Mexican Mashed Potatoes are at the ready. These make an outstanding side dish to any number of mains but they also offer an intriguing filling for vegetarian enchiladas.

Pale, wan vegetarians need as much love as the omnivores of the world can give them. Shake them free from their listless torpor with a big pan of Mexican Mashed Potato Enchiladas and tell them scrumptiouschef sent you.