You have to serve mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. There are all sorts of ways to prepare potatoes but on this turkey day, gravy poured over mashed potatoes is a must. I know, I’ve tried in years past to serve au gratin, roasted, stuffed….and I see it in my family’s eyes, as they glance across the table searching for the mashed potatoes. And even if the gravy is only poured over the turkey and stuffing, those creamy mountains of potatoes are still missed.
I’m more a purist in my mashed potatoes. There are endless recipes out there with an assortment of add-ins to choose from… flavored butters, a drizzle of pesto, a small amount of fresh herbs, a soft, gentle cheese, caramelized shallots or bits of roasted garlic. But please, not all at once!
The choice of potato for mashing is a matter of preference too. I like Yukon gold for its buttery flavor. It is less starchy and holds up to boiling better without absorbing a lot of water. I find that Russets really fall apart when boiled making for oober creamy mashed potatoes and red skinned hold their shape for a fairly chunky mash. And speaking of skin…leaving it on or off is the next question. I prefer to peel my potatoes when serving with tender turkey but leave it on for a rustic dish when being served with steak or grilled meats. And, if you want to surprise your guests with some WOW color, check out Sports Glutton for some purple potatoes!
Adding milk or cream? I like organic cream; it gives the mash a rich creamy feel and taste. Whole organic milk , 2% or buttermilk can be used but in my opinion non fat is definitely a no-no! I have used a small amount of turkey stock to cut back on the cream in the past but regardless of what is used, warming it slightly is better than shocking the potatoes with a cold liquid. And start out adding the cream in slowly as you can always add more to get it to the right consistency.
Lots of organic butter, sour cream in some recipes, Kosher salt and white pepper, not black, unless you like specks of black pepper through your mash. Taste as you go to season to your liking.
Lastly, what to use to mash. A ricer is “known” to be the preferred choice, but if you’ve ever used one, it’s a lot of work especially with a big pot of potatoes! I like to use a simple potato masher giving me the control of mashing to my desired creaminess. Just be aware that over mashing or using a mixer could cause the potatoes to become gummy and heavy.
Mashed potatoes can be made up to 2 hours ahead and left at room temperature or if you prefer to make them the day before, gently reheat them in a large pan adding milk to adjust the consistency.
Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Thyme Butter
Makes 10 servings
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon minced lemon peel (yellow part only)
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups organic cream, gently heated
1 roasted garlic bulb
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
Mix butter, thyme, and lemon in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Butter can be made 3 days ahead or made a week ahead and frozen. Wrap tightly and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Place potatoes in large pot. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to boil. Cover partially and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes and roasted garlic (squeezed from cloves) to same pot and mash. Stir warmed cream slowly into the potatoes, continuing to gently mash. Set aside 2 tablespoons thyme-lemon butter to top later. Mix in remaining butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed potatoes to large warmed bowl. Top with 2 tablespoons butter and serve.
These mashed potatoes are part of my Thanksgiving Countdown. If you’d like to share your favorite appetizer potatoe dish for Thanksgiving, please use Linky Tools below.
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