I have not made mashed potatoes since the girls became casein free, because I couldn't imagine that mashed potatoes free of milk, butter or sour cream would be worth bothering. But then I ran across this recipe in Bon Apetite and thought pears would definitely work. And they do! They lend a very subtle sweetness to the potatoes in such a way that I don't even miss the butter or the milk.
3 pounds white potatoes, peeled (or unpeeled) and cut into eigths
2 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup onion, diced
chicken broth, if desired
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the onions in a little olive oil over medium-low heat until very soft, about 20 minutes. Boil the potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Steam the pears until soft (about 6 minutes in the microwave). If your pears are very ripe, skip the steaming part. Mash the potatoes (with a little bit of chicken broth, if desired - the broth lends great flavor). Add the pears and mash. Add the onions and 1/4 cup olive oil and stir well with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more olive oil as desired. Serve warm.