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Nov 22, 2009 02:13 PM

Mashed Potato Indecision...

I know everyone's busy worrying about their own menus, but I could use a bit of advice... I've been toying with making several different mashed potato recipes, and just can't seem to decide. Of course, all of them have loyal devotees and opponents - some say "best ever" while the reviewer below says "i wouldn't serve these to my enemy" - well maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea. The variations I've been mulling over:

-Red Potatoes with Horseradish and Gouda
-Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes - based on Ina Garten
-White Cheddar and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
-Smashed Parmesan Potatoes - based on Ina Garten
-Make Ahead Sour Cream and Chive -

Does anyone have a wow-your-socks-off recipe they can suggest instead, or have insight on making a decision amongst these?


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  1. I wouldn't do the sour cream and chive, because 1) that doesn't sound like a good foil for turkey gravy and 2) too much fat swimming in the recipe for a meal that's already pretty heavy.

    The horseradish and gouda one sounds good, esp. if you leave the skins on the redskin potatoes. We make a redskin mash with a little cottage cheese stirred in, which gives them a slight tang (and I swear makes them taste just like a MD rotisserie chicken chain's, Chicken Out). Again, though, I wonder about the strong flavors competing with your gravy.

    Garlic/cheddar...nah. Maybe as a second option if you want to have two kinds.

    Smashed parmesan mashed potatoes are reputed to be amazing. I'd probably go for the buttermilk recipe, though, just for the pure simplicity of flavors.

    But really, it's hard to go wrong with mashed potatoes...unless you undercook them or something :)

    1. With all of the flavors from the rest of the meal, for Thanksgiving I do simple mashed potatoes. Peel, dice and boil Russets, drain saving the potato water. Heat REAL unsalted butter with milk in microwave. Mash potatoes and add sufficient butter and milk to gain a fluffy but not soggy texture, season with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper. Serve. Then I put the potato water in the refrigerator, promising myself I will make potato bread with it. But I hardly ever do. '-)

      11 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        Right on Caroline1! .... I dry the drained potatoes over the fire for a few seconds to get all the water out and ready for the milk and butter! Nuttin' better'n reall taters and turkey gravy!

        1. re: Caroline1

          I agree, NOT flavored! Gravy, and evrything else needs simple mashed potatoes.

          1. re: Liz K

            Thanks all for the replies... I know that I shouldn't make something that "competes," but I do want something that stands out as really great... as in "I want the recipe!" I guess I'll decide between the smashed parmesan and buttermilk. I wanted to use red potatoes and leave the skins on. I think that goes better with the smashed parm, or at least, I know Ina's Buttermilk recipe uses Yukon gold.

            1. re: Emme

              Without the actual recipes in front of me, are any similar enough that you could separate some, to keep for plain mashed potatoes, yet continue with some final ingredients (additional cream, cheese, garlic, ect.) to arrive at your second flavor - but minimize the work on your end?

              1. re: enbell

                they all provide for that opportunity... i was just indecisive about the final flavor combos i wanted...

              2. re: Emme

                Emme, resist! Leave the flavored potatoes for another meal. If this is for Thanksgiving, keep them plain, fluffy as opposed to rich and silky, and tasting of potato most of all.

                If your crowd is anything like every one I've ever cooked for, the combination of potatoes and gravy is possibly the most important part of the meal (though I detest it personally). Flavored potatoes are anathema to gravy.

                1. re: dmd_kc

                  Alright, so I'm looking at going simple... and thinking I'll add garlic to the water when the potatoes cook.

            2. re: Caroline1

              Less is more, that is the perfect recipe, sometimes I add a little marscapone to it as well.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Simple, well-made Yukon Gold mashed potatoes knock my socks off. I adore he color and silky texture, not to mention the mild starchy-ness. Mashed potatoes are like eggs, anyone can whip up a batch, but far less folks can cook them well.

                As a personal preference, gravy for me belongs over simple mashed potatoes, otherwise you're overwhelmed by the garlic, cheese horseradish, or whatever else is in the potatoes and it competes with the gravy.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  I hadn't realised (till I just looked it up) that Yukon Gold is a Canadian developed potato.

                2. re: Caroline1

                  Excellent advice, Caroline. We do the exact same thing. Makes them perfect for the beautiful turkey gravy,

                3. I've like the Cook's Country (Cook's Illustrated) Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I've made them several times lately. You just add a small amount of liquid and poach the potatoes. No need to drain them. This technique preserves all the flavor and doesn't pour it down the drain. Here's a link to the recipe. You have to enter your e-mail address (you are added to their mailing list) to see the recipe:


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Antilope

                    **** Paraphrased Recipe ****

                    Garlic Mashed Potatoes

                    Cook's Country TV From the episode: Fail-Safe Thanksgiving

                    This recipe uses just the right amount of liquid to cook the potatoes without the need to drain them. This method of preparation retains all of the flavor.

                    When the potatoes are cut into 1/2-inch pieces they present maximum surface area to absorb the garlic flavor.

                    Serves 8 to 10.


                    4 pounds russet potatoes , peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
                    12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into pieces (divided use)
                    12 garlic cloves , minced
                    1 teaspoon sugar
                    1 1/2 cups half-and-half (divided use)
                    1/2 cup water
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    Salt and pepper


                    1. Rinse cut potatoes, in a colander, under cold running water. Continue to rinse until the water runs clear. Rinsing eliminates extra starch that causes gluey mashed potatoes. Drain well.

                    2. In a dutch oven, melt 4 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Cook the garlic and sugar in the butter until it is straw color and sticky. This takes about 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the previously rinsed potatoes, 1-1/4 cups of half-and-half (reserve 1/4 cup until later), water, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the dutch oven. Stir well to mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the dutch oven. Cook (stirring occasionally) until the liquid is absorbed and potatoes are tender. This should take 25 to 30 minutes.

                    3. Remove from heat when done and add remaining butter. Using a potato masher, mash until potatoes are smooth. Fold in remaining 1/4 cup of half-and-half with a rubber spatula. Continue to fold until liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

                    1. re: Antilope

                      Hi, this is a great recipe! Can I freeze it ahead of time?

                      1. re: tiger615

                        I don't know. I have not tried freezing it.

                  2. Keep it simple, mashed with butter and half-and-half.

                    And above all russet potatoes, not reds or whites -- much better texture.

                    1. Russets. Simple. But with a twist that will make everyone ask for the recipe? Gotcha. You'll need a package of cream cheese per 5 pound of potatoes. Done! ;)

                      Cream cheese is always my secret ingredient -- a little tang, a little richness, just something that makes people wonder why the mashed potatoes are SO DOGGONE GOOD. This is the second generation of this super-secret trick, and it's no-fail. You won't regret it... ;)

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: LauraGrace

                        Do you use a food mill? I was planning on beating mine with a paddle attachment this year... Do you mash them with cream cheese and butter first, then add milk or half and half to get desired consistency?

                        1. re: Emme

                          I use the whip attachment on my KitchenAid. I heat up milk/cream while the spuds are boiling. When they're done I put hot spuds plus cut-up cream cheese into KA, salt and pepper, half a stick of butter. Slowly start the KA, add milk/cream as the mixer is going. Speed it up while adding the milk/cream. 10 seconds is the max once I've reached the proper mashed potato consistency with the milk/cream. I prefer the whip attachment to the paddle.

                          1. re: LauraGrace

                            Another idea is a ricer. Many chefs don't like using a masher or a mixer. Also, I was watching America's Test Kitchen and they suggested first peeling and cutting the potatoes into like pieces, and after a little time boiling, rinse them off to get rid of the starches. And then boil them more.

                            1. re: miki

                              I also use my KA whip attachment, because my husband's family likes it that way. I grew up with the hand masher, and would like it a little chunkier if it was up to me (or if my family was coming). There is no right or wrong. And another vote for russets, after using Yukon Golds for years, I decided I much prefer the fluffiness of russets instead.

                              1. re: miki

                                I'd love to have a ricer or a food mill! I use the whip attachment and just don't beat the spuds to death -- only until everything is incorporated. Better a lump or two than gummy mashed potatoes!!

                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! That's right, my potato ricer broke. I meant to pick one up when I ran to the grocery store this morning, but it was such a madhouse, that my "mental" list did not cut it, and I forgot. Well, I'll have to put that back on the list as I know I'll need one more grocery run.

                                  In the meantime, in response to the OP, I think simple mashed potatoes are best. Just with butter, S&P, and maybe a little creme fraiche, sour cream, or buttermilk. Despite being named second, "gravy" is the star of the "mashed potatoes and gravy" duo.


                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                    I got my Farberware type masher at a thrift shop for less than $1, it's a great place to find old fashioned utensils. And so heavy, I'm sure nothing today is made like it. I could mix cement if I wanted. I also recently found a Foley food mill, the one with the wooden handle, for $2. If your church has something like this, you should check it out, and the money goes to good use too.

                                    PS just got back from the grocery store, thought I was finally done and realized in the parking lot I forgot molassas. Wasn't going back in, can't believe how crowded the stores are this year. So only if I have to go back tomorrow, otherwise I'll improvise.

                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                      I really love my Wm-Sonoma ricer; I gave my old one (not W-S) away because this one is so superior. The one they carry now costs more but is bigger; with mine, it takes longer. I'm going to try someone's suggestion to make them and then park them in a crock pot.

                                      1. re: walker

                                        There's a very old classic French way (that I'm sure is practically unheard of in today's food circles) of ricing the potatoes onto a serving dish or bowl, letting the naturally mound up into a tall "mountain." Then, just before serving, top them with melted butter that will cascade down the sides. Don't stir!! It goes to the table like that. I've also served potatoes this way for buffet service, then surrounded the white mountain of spuds with small bowls of plain butter, truffled (or herbed) butter, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped chives and such. BIG hit! And what could be easier?

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Wow, what a lovely, delicious image.


                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Matterhorn mashed potatoes? Your description is too vivid for me--or perhaps my imagination is. I want to see butter cascade down the mountain, magically depleting the dish of any excess calories as it swooshes down! :) Seriously, that sounds very cool.