This is my favorite way to make mashed potatoes. Creamy herbed mashed potatoes come together so quickly and are full of flavor! For Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, make these ahead of time and reheat with a little more cream and butter!
I know, I know. I’m giving you a recipe for mashed potatoes? That seems kind of silly right? Well, I get a lot of comments and emails all the time from people asking me for my favorite recipe for this or that and it is almost always requests for the basics. My favorite pie crust recipe, or my favorite biscuit recipe, or my favorite mashed potato recipe? So I’m trying to give you the recipes you want.
Truth is, I don’t have a favorite mashed potato recipe. Like most of you probably do, I just wing it. But in general I have a method and certain ingredients that I always use, and around this time of year I love herbed mashed potatoes. So last weekend I made them the way I love them and measured everything so I could give you a recipe.
These potatoes are full of flavor and super creamy in taste but not necessarily in texture. Does that make sense? I love some texture to my potatoes. I’m a rough mash kind of gal! BUT if you prefer a silky smooth texture I will tell you how to do that too.
The main reason I am giving you this recipe today is because mashed potatoes are 100% one of the things you should make ahead of time if you are cooking “the big meal” on Thursday. There is no reason you need to have another pot of boiling water, dirty up a colander, and stand over the stove mashing pounds of potatoes while worrying about a turkey and pie and rolls and house guests! Mashed potatoes re-heat so well and by making them ahead of time you can make sure they won’t just be mediocre mashed potatoes. They will be luscious and flavorful and wonderful. I’m telling you. Hear my words.
You want to start with starchy potatoes. Russet potatoes (sometimes called Idaho) are really the best for mashing. They will mash up fluffy instead of gluey and are great at absorbing the cream and butter. Dice the potatoes up into roughly the same size pieces so they cook evenly.
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Potatoes are categorized as either starchy or waxy, though some are in between. Starchy potatoes have a thick skin and are best used for mashing and baking. Waxy potatoes typically have a thin delicate skin and a waxy texture. Waxy potatoes are best for things like soups, potato salads, roasting, or any preparation when you want the potatoes to hold their shape.
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water and add a few generous sprinkles of salt. Bring the pot up to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
Meanwhile, finely chop up some fresh herbs. I love a mixture of warm herbs- sage, thyme, and rosemary for the fall and winter and especially around Thanksgiving time. You could opt to do only one of these or a different combination. Chives, oregano, tarragon would all work well too, or any fresh herb you prefer could be used here.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, strain them. While the potatoes are in the colander, add butter and the herbs to the pot. Let the butter melt and soften the herbs slightly.
Add the potatoes back into the pot that has the butter and herbs and add heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Seasoning the potatoes well with salt and pepper is absolutely key to make damn good potatoes! It will make the herbs taste more herby, and the butter taste more buttery, and just don’t leave the salt out!
Now here is the part where you can choose what texture you want your potatoes to be. Any way you go, they will be buttery, creamy, and luscious. But if you want a rustic textured mash like mine here, go with a good old hand masher. A lot of people also like to use their hand mixer or even stand mixer for this part. That would work well and give you potatoes a little smoother than with a hand masher. I just don’t want to dirty up another piece of equipment! You could also give them a good whiz in your food processor or high speed blender if you want them more creamy. But the ultimate smooth preparation for mashed potatoes is to use a food mill set on the smallest die. You would mill the potatoes through into the pot of butter, herbs, and cream after being drained. If that is your thing, go for it! I just don’t love that. I’m totally a texture person!
If served immediately, these babies are creamy and luscious and ready to go at this point! But if you want to make ahead of time and reheat, all you have to do is add a little more cream and a couple pats of butter and reheat until warm enough to serve. I promise you won’t be able to tell they were made early! You could even reheat them in (gasp!) a microwave! A crockpot would also work well and then you can just keep the mashed potatoes in there to stay warm.
I hope your holiday is filled with family, friends, a lot of good food and a big after dinner nap! A little wine wouldn’t hurt either.
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