Tuesday, November 15, 2011

G is for: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These are the best garlic mashed potatoes ever!
Today's post will start a series of Thanksgiving-related recipes to give you some ideas and pointers for the big day should you find yourself in the kitchen next Thursday. I'll be hosting my mom, my sister, and my brother in law (BIL :)) and I can't wait!

It's a pretty safe bet that mashed potatoes will be somewhere on your Thanksgiving table. But there are SO many different thoughts and theories on how to make the best mashed potatoes. Over the years, I've poured over recipes and blogs on the subject, and this is what I've come up with as my combination for a go-to, can't-fail recipe. I know it's a bold statement, but I think they're the best ever. Yup, I said it.

Perhaps more important than the potato you choose is your mashing tool of choice. The key to fluffy, perfectly mashed potatoes is not to over-mash. Gluey, sticky potatoes are the result of over-mixing because it breaks down the cells and releases the starches.



I'm partial to a potato ricer. It looks like a gigantic garlic press and literally turns the potatoes into little rice grains, leaving zero lumps. After ricing the potatoes, all you have to do is stir in the rest of the ingredients with a spoon. But if you don't have one, you can use your normal method. (Whatever you do, do NOT use a food processor).


The type of potato is also important. Yukons or Russets are best because they stand up better to the mashing.


I LOVE garlic. So I like to add a little roasted garlic to my potatoes (ok, a lot). To roast, cut the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap in foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Once it cools, you can pop the little cloves out of the skin and mash with a fork. (Do ahead step: you can do this a day ahead of time).


And THIS is the other secret ingredient. Crème fraîche. It's sort of like sour cream except WAY better. Sour cream would do in a pinch, but I recommend splurging on the good stuff. I found it in the speciality cheese section at my local grocery store for about six bucks.


Peel and cut each potato into 1.5" to 2" chunks. Place in a pan and cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from heat and drain immediately. Return to the pan and sit them back on the stove to let them dry out a little. (This will help make for creamier potatoes).


Now for the ricing. Scoop the potatoes into the "hopper" of the ricer and push them through.


Now you know why it's called a ricer. Doesn't it look like rice or cous cous? From here you just gently stir in the other ingredients. Warm the butter and half and half (or milk) in a small saucepan on the stove. Stir in a little bit of the garlic (according to taste), butter and cream in small increments until the potatoes reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Add more garlic or seasoning depending on taste.


Put a dollop of butter in the middle and garnish with herbs if you want to make it all pretty. Serve hot! Mmmmmmm.

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: side garlic potato creme fraiche Thanksgiving

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds potatoes (Yukon or Russet)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half or cream
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche, room temperature
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap in foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool and pop cloves out of the skin. Mash with a fork. (Do ahead step: you can roast the garlic the day before if you are making for Thanksgiving).
  2. Peel the potatoes and remove any eyes. Place peeled potatoes in water while you peel the rest of them so they don't oxidize. Then cut each potato into 1.5" to 2" chunks.
  3. Place in a pan and cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a sharp knife.
  4. Remove from heat and drain immediately. Return to the pan and sit them back on the stove to let them dry out a little. (This will help make for creamier potatoes).
  5. Meanwhile, warm the butter and half and half in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat until butter is melted.
  6. Working in batches, scoop the potatoes into the "hopper" of the ricer and push them through.
  7. Stir in the butter mixture and garlic in small increments until the potatoes reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Add more garlic or seasoning depending on taste. Finally, stir in the crème fraîche. Serve hot!
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