Thanksgiving is one of those great American holidays that no matter what religion or non-religion you are, we can all celebrate it. It’s a time to give thanks for all we have and for those we have in our lives to share it with. Every year since I was about 6 years old, my immediate family and I have spent our Thanksgivings with close family friends. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to pitch in and make some of my own dishes for our huge pot-luck style meal every year.
With begrudging approval from the moms (I’m not being sexist, it’s just a fact that they do all the cooking at my Thanksgivings), I was allowed to make mashed potatoes and stuffing (inspired by one of the moms a year earlier anyway). What I learned from that experience is that every year when I’m thankful for my friends, family, and even the good eats, I never really understood what it took to prepare those amazing meals. Frankly, it’s hard and time-consuming. I only contribute a couple of dishes a year now, while our poor mothers prepare an entire table and side table (we have a lot of food) of delicious dishes. Even that one dish that no one likes every year (there’s always at least one) often takes a lot of time!
Keeping that in mind, this run of Thanksgiving recipes goes out to the moms who don’t need these recipes and to those of us who should be thankful enough to maybe lend them a hand in the future.
- 4 to 6 pounds (about 1 bag) of Yukon gold potatoes (about 1200 – 1650 calories)
- 1.5 cups of heavy or light cream (heavy: about 1200 calories or light: 720 calories)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (800 calories)
- 4 to 6 cloves of crushed/pureed garlic, but you can add more to taste
- 2 tablespoons of diced chives
- Large pot for boiling
- Cutting board
- Potato/vegetable peeler
- Hand-held potato masher / potato ricer / or other way to mash the potatoes
- Small sauce pot
- Wooden spoon or other spoon to mix the cream and butter
- Large bowl
- Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and place them into a large bowl or pot filled with water so that they don’t brown.
- Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them into a large pot filled with water and a teaspoon of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are “fork tender” (about 15 to 20 min).
- Drain the potatoes and let them cool for a few minutes.
- Put the potatoes back in the pot and use a potato ricer, large fork, or hand-held masher to mash the potatoes. Note: DON’T mash them with a food processor or hand blender or stand mixer or anything mechanical like that. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a really thick paste rather than fluffy potatoes. Use a hand-held grated potato masher.
- Place the mashed potatoes into a large bowl.
- Cream and Butter: In a sauce pan/pot, heat the butter on medium-low heat until fully melted.
Alternatively, you can cut the butter up into 1-inch cubes and add it directly to the hot potatoes while mixing just a little bit. This is a great way to work the butter in without worrying about another pot and it creates a somewhat more buttery mash.
- Then add the cream and crushed garlic to the butter to heat up (do not boil) on medium-low heat. Just get it warm and to the point where the butter has melted and there’s a little steam rising.
Alternatively, just add the cream in small amounts directly to the warm potatoes and butter while mixing to achieve the same result.
- Once the butter and cream are mixed, slowly add the cream mixture to the potatoes a little at a time. Fold the ingredients together until the potatoes are fluffy and creamy, but don’t mash them as much as mix them.
- Add salt to taste. I would suggest adding a 1/2 teaspoon at a time and mix really well before tasting. Add more if you want after that.
- Once done, top the mashed potatoes with chopped chives and/or cheese as a garnish.
- Serve up some mashed happiness.