Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
June 26, 2019

Chefs know that potatoes bring a lot of operational advantages—beyond a bevvy of menu items beloved by American consumers. They’re also workhorses in a number of applications. Here are expert step-by-step formulas for fillers, binders and thickeners, applying them to popular menu items like meatballs, plant-based burgers and soup thickeners.

Filler, Binder and Thickener

When developing products with high percentages of meat as a component, traditional fillers, binders and extenders are typically used to enhance flavor and texture while helping to reduce cost. Potatoes are a great addition to the list of potential fillers, binders and extenders, due to their neutral flavor and great moisture capabilities allowing for a smooth and even texture and a moist finished product.

In this application, potatoes are a great gluten-free solution for moistened bread, breadcrumbs or oatmeal in products like meatloaf or meatballs. A notable benefit is the ability to develop gluten-free products without compromising on flavor or texture.

  • Standard potato flakes or shreds can be used at a 1:1 ratio to breadcrumbs and other grain alternatives.
  • Ground potato flakes and flours can be used at approximately half the volume of breadcrumbs or other grain alternatives.
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Classic Meatballs & Meatloaf

Meatloaf Formula

  • Ground Beef 45%
  • Potato Flakes 4%
  • Seasoning 2%
  • Minced Onion 23%
  • Ketchup 8%
  • Roasted Peppers, diced 4%
  • Egg 12%
  • Worcestershire 1%
  • Garlic, minced 1%

Combine and form in loaves. Bake until cooked to 165°F.

Meatball Formula

  • Ground Beef 57%
  • Ground Pork 29%
  • Eggs 6%
  • Mustard 1%
  • Kosher Salt 1%
  • Ground Pepper 1%
  • Potato Flakes 3%
  • Worcestershire 1%
  • Garlic, minced 1%

Combine and form into meatballs. Bake until cooked to 165°F.

Binding for Non-Animal Protein Burgers and Plant-Based Proteins

Potatoes are an excellent binder in vegetarian or vegan products because they are familiar and label friendly. The neutral flavor and texture acts as a great binder with other ingredients for non-animal protein development. When potatoes are used instead of other fillers, it provides a uniform appearance and creates browning from their natural sugars.

  • Mashed potatoes (made from fresh, frozen or dehydrated flakes) can be added directly to the finished product. Moisture of prepared or fresh-made mashed potatoes may impact usage levels.
  • Dehydrated potato flakes or granules can be rehydrated or added directly.
  • Potato flour works similarly to potato flakes and is used at half the amount of potato flakes.
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Vegan Burger

  • Walnuts, chopped 24.5%
  • Chickpeas, canned 18.4%
  • Quinoa, cooked 11%
  • Potato Flakes 4.9%
  • Chia Seeds 2.4%
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 3.7%
  • Cumin, ground 0.5%
  • Garlic, minced 1%
  • Canola Oil 1.8%
  • Mashed Potatoes 31.8%

Combine all ingredients and blend together in a food processor. Form into patties (if desired, coat in additional potato flakes). Sear in oil to brown. Bake in oven at 400ºF for 15 minutes until firm.

Thickener

As a thickener, potatoes provide a creamier texture that holds moisture and provides a smooth and silky mouthfeel. Similar to a traditional roux, potato flour can be used in place of wheat flour as a thickener to achieve a creamy texture, silky mouthfeel and consistent execution. Dehydrated potato flakes, flours, and fresh or frozen potatoes can be incorporated into sauces, soups and gravies to produce great sheen, smooth texture and excellent flavor. Additionally, it is a great gluten-free alternative.

  • Potato flakes can be added and will react when heated to thicken.
  • Potato flour works similarly to potato flakes and are used at half the amount of potato flakes.
  • Fresh or frozen mashed potatoes can be added directly to the finished product. Moisture of prepared or fresh-made mashed potatoes may impact usage level.
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Soup or Gravy Thickener

Pork Gravy

  • Ground Sausage 46%
  • Potato Flakes 4%
  • Milk 50%

Brown meat, add potato flakes and milk; heat and stir until smooth.

Traditional Gravy

  • Butter or Fat 6%
  • Potato Flakes 5%
  • Stock 89%

Combine butter, potato flakes and stock; heat and stir until smooth.

Thickening Soup

  • Potato Flakes 5%
  • Broth Soup 95%

Add potato flakes to soup; heat and stir until smooth.

As a Binder in Desserts

Traditional binders in desserts include cream, egg, starches and flour. Potatoes can be an effective substitute for some of the eggs, cream or wheat flour for binding. Potato ingredients hold moisture, producing a creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel. This is especially beneficial in dairy-based desserts when used to partially replace cream or eggs, which may also reduce cost.

  • Fresh or frozen mashed potatoes can be added directly to the finished product. Moisture of prepared or fresh-made mashed potatoes may impact usage levels.
  • Potato flakes can be rehydrated or added directly. The liquid components may need to be adjusted accordingly.
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Vanilla Flan or Custard

  • Mashed Potatoes 8%
  • Sugar 4%
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk 25%
  • Evaporated Milk 24%
  • Eggs 19%
  • Vanilla 1%
  • Sugar for Caramelizing 19%

Combine all ingredients except sugar for caramelizing. In ramekins, add caramelized sugar. Pour in custard. Bake in water bath until firm. Cool.

 

Showcasing the versatility of potato products being used as fillers are on-trend menu items like a curried chickpea potato burger and a potato falafel.

Showcasing the versatility of potato products being used as fillers are on-trend menu items like a curried chickpea potato burger and a potato falafel.

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