Sunday, September 9, 2018

Season's Choice Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts & Wild Mushrooms (Aldi)

For the uninitiated, "haricots verts" is basically a fancy way of saying "green beans". (I had to look it up, too)
I bought these, as I frequently do with special buy items, on a whim from Aldi a couple months back. And like many things bought on a whim, they just kind of sat in our freezer for a while, being passed over in favor of other things that we knew we would like. Much of my wife’s hesitation stemmed from her dislike of mushrooms, while my hesitation stemmed from a few recent frozen potato purchases not quite living up to expectations. The last few that we’ve had were very dry, and without a lot of flavor, a fatal double-whammy that I figured would end up characterizing these, as well, especially the more and more I put off trying them.

Well finally one day my wife was gone for the night, I needed something quick and easy, and so I threw these in the microwave as a side to my main dish (potato-encrusted cod). Before we go any further, a word to those that may be a little confused: haricots verts (pronounced are-ee-coh vair) is basically French for “green beans”. Of course, there are some slight preparatory differences between the two, like the French tend to cut theirs thinner and cook them a bit differently, but that's the gist of it. So these are potatoes with green beans and wild mushrooms, which checks off with what can be seen in the product image. Why they chose to go French on just the green bean description on the packaging is rather confusing, especially since this dish is neither fancy, nor French, but there you have it.

True to my style, which is a mix of laziness and convenience, I opted to cook these in the microwave instead of the stovetop. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a large enough bowl readily available to make the bag all at once, so I just threw half in a cereal bowl and microwaved them for half the suggested time. In three-and-a-half minutes, I had a well-heated bowl of boring-looking potatoes, although I must confess that there were way more green beans and mushrooms in here than I was expecting (which is a good thing). I also must confess that, despite my own reservations towards mushrooms, this is one of the best frozen potato products I’ve ever gotten from Aldi.

The flavor is very strong, with the flavors of the green beans, and even the mushrooms (which sometimes can go unnoticed in frozen dishes), each standing out on their own. The potatoes also manage to be delicious, partly because they are seasoned with spices, and also because they are swimming in some kind of “sauce” that resembles a broth. It sounds kind of gross, I’ll admit, but it prevents the potatoes from being dry, which is always a plus in my book, while also providing a blast of extra flavor.

Overall: 7.5/10. If you're confused as to what “haricots verts” are, they are essentially French green beans. So this side dish consists of potatoes, wild mushrooms, and green beans. I wasn't sure what to expect, considering I am not fond of mushrooms at all, but this is a surprisingly delicious side dish that can compliment a wide variety of meals. It also avoids the issue of dry potato dishes (see above) by having all of it swimming in a thin broth of juices, which add to the flavor while keeping the potatoes moist and inviting. This is not an item I would typically try, but it's one of the more surprising things I've tried at Aldi, and certainly one I would get again in the future.

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