Delight family and guests with a traditional Thanksgiving side dish—mashed potatoes—served with a delicious twist.
Mashed potatoes are such a Thanksgiving favorite, you might wonder if it’s possible to make them even better. We think so. Here are some easy tips and twists that guarantee your guests will come back for seconds.
Perfecting the Potato
Before adding any new ingredients, you’ll need to begin with a perfect base, a recipe that sidesteps some of the most common mashed potato mishaps that can occur on Thanksgiving Day (such as gummy or lumpy potatoes). Try this basic recipe:
5 large, high-starch baking potatoes, peeled. (This is important: Low-starch, waxy “general-purpose” potatoes, such as yellow or red potatoes, could give you gummy results. High-starch “baker” potatoes, like Idahos and russets, should yield fluffy perfection.)
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk (Start with 1/2 cup and test consistency.)
1/2 stick butter
Salt and/or pepper to taste
1. Cut potatoes into quarters (no smaller). Cutting them into smaller pieces to speed up cooking can cause them to lose flavor.
2. Place them in large pot and completely cover with water.
3. Boil until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes) and break when you touch them with a fork.
4. Drain potatoes.
5. Add milk and butter, and mash with an electric mixer for best results. (A blender or food processor can create an unpleasant, pasty texture.)
6. Cover with foil and place on slightly warm burner to keep warm. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.
Adding a Quick Twist
Follow above recipe, changing only the amount of milk, and adding cream cheese:
1/2 cup milk and 1-1/3-cup package of cream cheese (veggie or chive flavored to add even more of a kick)
Instead of using 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, substitute cream for a rich flavor and dense (but still fluffy) texture. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.
Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup skim milk and 1/4 cup garlic-flavored olive oil instead of butter. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.
Add 1-1/2 teaspoons of gourmet jarred minced garlic. If you’re feeling ambitious, roast your own garlic. Wrap in foil for 20 minutes at 400°F. Use 4 to 5 cloves, depending on your family’s garlic tolerance.
For an extra kick, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of wasabi paste, available at most gourmet stores and Asian grocers. Start out with 1 teaspoon and add more gradually. Warning: Wasabi can be an acquired taste, so it’s possible that not all your guests will like it.
For a rich and deep blue-cheese flavor, consider adding 3-1/2 ounces of Stilton cheese at room temperature. (Be sure to take out of refrigerator an hour before cooking, and remove rind.)
Regular + Sweet Potatoes
Mix Thanksgiving up a bit by combining potatoes and sweet potatoes into one crazy mash. Use 2-1/2 “regular” potatoes and 2-1/2 sweet potatoes in the above recipe. Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger for an extra kick.