Sunday, November 20, 2011

Make Ahead Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I have two older brothers.  Both of them are bachelors.  If they were married, I'd be in bettter luck. I think. At least, I could potentially recruit the women to help make Thanksgiving Dinner. So, for now, I am the only girl cook in the family. In high school, this was a good thing.  My brothers had good looking friends.  But that's another story, or two.  For another day.

Over the last few decades, it seems that I've been the designated Thanksgiving Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.  My small family loves their Thanksgiving dinners.  My mother (may she rest in peace),  so looked forward to turkey and all the trimmings.  You see, her Motherland of Bavaria doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving. Of course not!  This is an American tradition.  Both of my parents are now celebrating their celestial Thanksgivings amongst the heavens.  That brings us back to earth.  Unless I opt to go out to eat (which means no leftovers), I cook. I bake. I clean pots and pans.  I serve.

My kitchen is so small that there is barely enough room for just myself.   That's why I've finally devised a plan.  The plan is to make a few dishes, starting the weekend before Thanksgiving.   Until one of my brothers brings a girlfriend (perhaps future wife?) to my kitchen, who can cook,(and I can Shanghai)  I'm pretty much running the show. Let's face it-- Thanksgiving Dinner is a lot of work!

Turkey cannot be fully enjoyed without mashed potatoes.  Rice or pasta just doesn't cut it. My favorite potatoes are Yukon Golds.  I'm going to show you how I make mashed potatoes that are creamy and packed with flavor.  You can make these a few days ahead of time-- you could even freeze them.  Today, I cooked about 5 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes.  You can use Russets, or Red Bliss, of course.  I love the buttery notes of Yukons, and the light yellow color.  I also like that I don't have to peel them.  Less work is good.  I cook them in salted water until fork tender. If you scrutinize photos, I'm using a knife. Either way, I just make sure that they're tender, but not cooked to mush. Drain them.

This is my kitchen helper.  I love my OXO food mill.   I love this kitchen tool more than my potato ricer.  A potato masher? Fuhgetaboutit.   For one, there are rubber "legs" that come out and helps to position the food mill over a pot.   I simply insert the grater with the larger holes, and snap the handy dandy handle on. I'm ready to go.  I simply cut the potatoes in smaller quarters, grab the handle and turn...

Turn right a few spins, turn left. Turn right, turn left.  This is much easier than squeezing a potato ricer, and I can fit a lot more potatoes at once.  Mashing is more work than I want to do. So, my first batch of potatoes are beautifully "riced".

Now, here are the ingredients I use to make these delicious mashed potatoes.  Cream cheese. Uh-huh. I don't measure, but 1/2  brick looks good.  Then I add 1/2 stick of unsalted butter.  I add more hot potatoes and continue to mill them.  The heat of the potatoes will start to melt the cream cheese and butter.  Look at the underside of the food mill, and there's all kinds of lovely potato goodness. Scrape that into the pot.

So, now it's time to add the liquids.  Again, I don't measure.  Here's whole milk. I add in 1/4 cup increments.  It's better to go slow and easy, so you don't end up with potato soup.

 The pot is filling up, and I'm not even breaking a sweat.

The milled/riced potatoes are easily stirred.  Start blending, gently.

Last night, I made roasted garlic and used half of it. I decided to squeeze the sweet tasting garlic and mash it up. This is totally optional. But good.

I don't always do this, but today-- for Thanksgiving-- I added 2 beaten eggs.  The eggs give a lovely richness to the potatoes.   Now give the potatoes a stir.  Amazing!  You really don't need to use a hand mixer.  I never do.  I find that when potatoes are run through a food mill, all the hard work is done.  Give the potatoes a taste.  There's one more ingredient I love to add.  For Thanksgiving.

Heavy cream. Yes! Just go for it.  I added about 1/4 cup.   Basically, I'm done when the potatoes have a lovely silky texture. That's why I don't measure.  Just go slow and easy, and you'll do fine.  Now, you can go in with a hand mixer, but I like a little bit of texture. Your choice. (Whatever you do, don't use a food processor-- or you'll end up with potato glue!)   I've got enough dishes to clean up, anyway.

I sprayed olive oil on an oven-proof dish.  You can butter it, but I'm watching my calories. (Not.)
Cover ...
...and put into the refrigerator.

Now, pat yourself on the back that these pots and pans are washed and put away, before Thanksgiving Day. You won't be scrambling to make these while your guests are drinking, and eating appetizers, while you are slaving away in the kitchen.  I speak for myself.

So, how to you serve these?  Pop them into a 350 degree oven, for about 20-30 minutes.  I put a few pieces of butter on top, and stir them right before serving.  Or, you can heat these in a slow cooker, on low-- which frees up the oven.  Either way, these are guaranteed to be excellent.  If you're the designated side dish bringer-- make these.  They'll disappear.

 My sinful indulgence.  So delicious!

My next post-- Make Ahead Turkey Gravy.  

...another life time saver.

NOTE: OXO did not pay me to promote their food mill.  I wish they did. I wish they were sponsoring a giveaway so y'all could win one.  But, they aren't.  You can still use a good old-fashioned potato masher.  The potatoes will still taste fantastic.  
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Alice said...

I am definitely using this recipe! Thank you so much!

Christine said...

A brilliant post! I can say this because 1.) never knew Yukons didn't need to be peeled and 2.) great tip on the food mill! Since dinner is only me, hadn't planned on making potatoes, just a small 10-12 lb. turkey, stuffing and veggie. I have a potato ricer that belonged to my great grandmother but it's quite hard to use. Thanks ever so much! P.S. Would love any turkey gravy making how-to in one of the holiday posts :)

Top Cuisine avec Lavi said...

Looks delicious! Your blog is fantastic!

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Love the idea of making ahead as much as I can... your potatoes look amazing!

Pam List said...

I love this. I am traveling for Thanksgiving, but this is perfect for Christmas.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the idea of make-ahead potatoes and love, love, love OXO products. They don't have to give things away when they make such fantastic products.

Have a great Thanksgiving and please let someone else do the dishes.

bellini said...

For these big meals I am usually chief cook and bottle washer too. I start the meal 3 days prior to the big event and have everything but the turkey ready to reheat.

Valerie said...

Great recipe! I love anything that can be made in advance. (Potatoes are my carb-loving heart's guilty pleasure.) :)

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh yumm, I would have never thought of the cream cheese but what a fantastic touch. Not cooking this year, its just Hubby and I and the DFAC on post puts on quite the spread, meeting up with friends and single Soldiers. But next year I'll be stateside with the family. [ or maybe next week I'll try this out. ] Looking up the food mill!!

Penny said...

I too love make ahead mashed potatoes. I usually use russets, but like your idea of Yukon Golds. Will give it a try. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Debby.

Joanne said...

For all intents and purposes, I make most of the EDIBLE parts of t-day dinner, so I understand (aka the ones without high fructose corn syrup in every bite) I understand. Making ahead is definitely a great idea! These potatoes look fabulous.

Becki's Whole Life said...

Why have I never used my food mill for mashed potatoes before? I had been lamenting that I didn't have a ricer, but I guess I don't need one..ha. I also love that you added the beaten egg to these potatoes, I am doing that this year...and some cream cheese, too.

Denise Garcia said...

This is my second year using this recipe and I love it. I just finished making it again and I'll be taking it as my contribution to dinner (along with the make ahead gravy, of course!). I'd add a side note to this recipe about not peeling the potatoes if you don't have a food mill. I have to use a ricer and the peelings will not go through the small holes. I ended up peeling the hot potatoes after trying to get them pressed through the ricer, without success. I'm not an especially great cook and don't know the tips and tricks and obvious adjustments others probably see right off. :) Thanks Debby!!