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- 1 large or 2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, about 1 lb (500 g) total weight, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 2 pounds (1kg) root vegetables such as rutabagas, celery root (celeriac), parsnips, or carrots, or a combination, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- freshly ground pepper
- In a saucepan over high heat, combine the potato, the root vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt, and water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until the vegetables are very tender when pieced with a knife, 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. Separate the shallot slices into rings and add to the pan. Fry, stirring often, until golden brown, 4-7 minutes. Add the sugar and a generous pinch of salt and cook for 1 minute longer. The shallots should be crisp and well colored. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels to drain, arranging them in a single layer.
- When the vegetables are tender, drain them, reserving 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the cooking liquid. Return the vegetables to the saucepan and, using a potato masher or large wooden spoon, mash them, adding the butter pieces one at a time as you work. Add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a soft consistency. Season with the nutmeg and with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the purée to a warmed serving dish or bowl and sprinkle evenly with the shallots. Serve at once.