With the holidays right around the corner, you’re probably working out what’s on the menu. But we all know that no day of stuffing your face is complete without some sort of starchy goodness. You gotta have potatoes on the table! It’s like the glue that binds your body to the couch for that glorious, post meal, food baby nap. You know that’s the best nap around.
My family always had a pot of classic mashed potatoes for the holidays, usually from the box. But growing up in a middle class household in the 90’s, a lot of our food came out of a box and instant mashed potatoes were definitely the go to! Ahh, nostalgia….but, once I realized how cheap a bag of potatoes actually are (seriously, they are so cheap!), and how much more I liked the flavor of the fresh stuff, I started to mash my own taters.
These mashed potatoes are creamy and buttery with a smooth kick of roasted garlic. This recipe uses yukon gold, russet and red potatoes. Using a variety of potatoes really gives them a great texture with lots of fluff! If you only have one style of potato on hand, that will work too. Russets and Yukon Gold are both great for mashing on their own.
The first thing you're going to want to do is roast that garlic! Since we roasted garlic in the last post, we're gonna put it to good use here. It’s a really simple process, but takes around 35 minutes, so you can get that in the oven first and it should be done right when you need it. For roasting, you’ll slice the very top off of a whole bulb of garlic. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and pop in the oven at 400* for 35 minutes and voila! You can read more about the Roasted Garlic process here.
Now back to the potatoes...
In a large pot or saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt to the water. Since this is the first phase of cooking, you’ll want to start getting some flavor in to those potatoes as soon as you can.
I’m one of those folks who likes to have some peel left on the potatoes. I love the little pop of color and texture from some skins, especially with red potatoes. I like to peel about half of the potatoes (usually the Russets, since their skin is a little thicker) and leave the skin on the Yukon and Reds. I know the skins aren’t for everyone, so if you prefer them without, go ahead and peel the potatoes before cutting.
Wash potatoes and cut into even cubes, roughly 1 to 1- 1/2 inch chunks. The main thing with this step is making sure they are all roughly the same size, so that they boil evenly. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, around 15 minutes.
*Note: Even if you don’t mash your potatoes right away, don’t let them sit in the water after they’re done boiling. They can absorb too much water and it will end up messing up the texture of your potatoes.
As you mash, gradually add your salt & pepper, cream, roasted garlic, butter and parmesan cheese (save some butter and cheese for the top!) Mash until smooth, but be careful not to over mash your potatoes or they can end up gummy....and nobody wants gummy taters!
As you can see, I like to finish these guys off with a few more pads of butter, a generous sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little more fresh cracked black pepper. Pop them under the broiler for a few minutes to melt all that buttery, cheesy goodness. You will end up with a subtle cheesy crust on top of the potatoes that will have everyone fighting over the top scoop! I like to garnish with a little parsley for a nice pop of color...and if there's green on there, that makes 'em healthier, right??? Ah well, these are obviously an indulgent side dish that you should not feel bad about enjoying!