Smoothy, creamy and oh-so-decadent mashed potatoes are the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table. Extra credit for being able to make them the day before.
Well folks, we made it to election day. Our country has been been mired in dissension and bitter opposition these past few months leading up to the election. It certainly hasn’t been pretty. It seems that we can’t agree on anything. Maybe that’s why we’ve established holiday rooted in gratefulness, family and unity each November after the tension of Election Day. Because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s a good meal. Particularly carbs. Especially carbs. We are one nation, indivisible, with liberty and carbohydrates for all. Or something like that 😉
Politics aside, it’s time to get down to the real business of November. Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away! It’s time to start menu planning, list making, grocery shopping and nail biting. That last one is avoidable. While Thanksgiving dinner is arguably the most important meal to cook all year, it does not have to be the most stressful. I’ve got a handful of foolproof Turkey Day recipes coming your way to ease the anxiety over what to make and how to make it. I can’t say I can provide much in the way of assistance for annoying family members, but I do have two suggestions: 1- seat them as far away as you can manage and 2- pour an extra glass of wine (for you. or them. or both!)
First up are Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Hyperbole? Nope. They are really that good. Velvety smooth, creamy, rich and slightly garlicky. Plus, they can be completely prepared a day ahead and put in the oven to warm through on Thanksgiving. My biggest secret for not going absolutely bananas on Thanksgiving is to do as much ahead of time as I can. So a dish that can be prepped ahead of time is a lifesaver. However, I’m not going to sacrifice deliciousness for the sake of cleaning one less pot or pan on the big day. Fortunately, that’s not an issue with these mashed potatoes. These are hands down the yummiest mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. I ruined my supper the day I made these, because I couldn’t stop sneaking one more bite.
These are slightly more high maintenance than my standard method for mashed potatoes, which involves leaving the skin on and mashing in the pot in which the potatoes cooked. However, this is Thanksgiving and you can make them in their entirety ahead of time, so I think it’s worth the marginal extra effort. And truthfully, peeling the potatoes is the worst part. So pick that annoying cousin and stick them in the corner with a potato peeler and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Once the potatoes have boiled until tender, pass them through a potato ricer (which I think is really fun, so save that task for yourself. It’s the little things.) Stir in butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and two heads of roasted garlic. Drum up your reserves of self control as you ladle the prepared potatoes into a baking dish. Cover with foil and stick in the fridge until the next day. Remove the potatoes from the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them, to take some of the chill off. Dot the top of the potatoes with a little more butter and stick into the oven for about half an hour. This works out well, as they can wait to go in the oven until the turkey comes out to rest. Of course, you can prepare them right before serving and skip the oven, if you prefer. Either way, once they are on the table you can enjoy, unbutton the top button of your pants and accept the compliments that come your way. Gobble Gobble!
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut until large chunks (1 1/2 to 2 inches)
- 2 heads roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
Place potatoes in large pot. Fill pot with cold water until potatoes are covered by at least 1 inch. Bring potatoes and water to a boil and boil until potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander.
Pass potatoes through a potato ricer back into the now empty pot. Stir in 2 sticks butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Spray 9×13 dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour potatoes into dish. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Alternatively, you can serve at this point, dotting the top of potatoes with remaining butter.
If potatoes have been refrigerated, remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to baking. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil from top of potatoes and dot the top of the potatoes with remaining 1/2 stick of butter. Bake about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are warmed through.
To Make Roasted Garlic: Cut the tops off of two heads of garlic. Place garlic in the center of a piece of foil and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold foil over garlic to make pouches. Roast at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until soft and golden. When ready to use, squeeze garlic cloves from paper.