Mash and Smashed Potatoes are both Great for Thanksgiving

While the prevailing thought that Thanksgiving dinner should be all about the turkey, in my house, it’s about the mashed potatoes. We have the same argument, year after year after year. Smashed verses mashed verses roasted versus candied. Everyone has their favorite AND THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT.    


            Lobbying starts early. My youngest son is forthright and always polite and truthful: “Mom, if you need me to run to the grocery to get the marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole I’ll be happy to be of service to you, oh queen of the kitchen and she who must be obeyed (sometimes I like him best). Oh, and if you need anything else I’ll pick that up too.” The oldest is a tad more crafty, actually offering to do more than just show up and eat. “Hey mom, how about I take care of setting the table, vacumning AND peeling the potatoes” thinking I’ll be so stunned by is offer to actually “work” that I’ll make the potatoes the way he wants. My husband, on the other hand, is a bit more subtle, “what ever YOU want to make is fine by me, BUT, if you’re asking, I prefer that casserole with the fried onions BUT only if its not too much trouble and I’ll eat what ever you make, as long as it’s the casserole.” I usually end up making a sweet and regular potato side dish just to keep the peace and make sure there are leftovers for weekend overeating.

            I have discovered that the real trick to creamy, buttery, luscious potatoes is to use the Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Russets or Idaho that most people seem to use. That’s really all there is to it (along with adding, butter, and cream/milk/broth, salt and pepper etc). Potatoes should be cut into approximately the same size so that it cook evenly and placed in a pan with cold salted water. Cook until soft. After draining, return potatoes to pot and shake them over a medium heat to remove any remaining moisture before mashing.
         It’s important to mash your potatoes to the desired consistency BEFORE adding any liquids. Once you add liquid, it sets the texture of your mashed potatoes. Never, repeat never, over-beat or use a food processor. You will end up with glue. Use an up and down motion rather than a stirring motion to keep from turning the potatoes into a gummy paste (paste/glue, you get the picture).

 A final mashed potato note: If you want to add a little zing to your mashed potatoes know that most root vegetables are great candidates for combining with your mashing potatoes. Try adding cooked and mashed yams, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, celery root, carrots, onions, garlic or whatever sounds good to you. You can combine them totally or swirl them together in the serving bowl for a colorful and delicious dish.

One pound or 3 medium-sized potatoes will make 2 cups mashed potatoes.

Use some of your mashed potatoes as a decorative tasty garnish for your vegetable casseroles. Add a lightly beaten egg to the mashed potatoes and, using a pastry bag, pipe a decorative border around the edge. Bake at 375 just until the potato garnish starts to brown.


2 pounds small red potatoes

4 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

Salt and pepper, to taste

Scrub potatoes and cut into small chunks. Put potatoes and the sliced garlic in a medium saucepan; cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Pour into a bowl and mash with the butter and milk or half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.


Deluxe mashed potatoes, with cream cheese, sour cream, butter, Cheddar, and seasonings.

8 to 12 medium baking potatoes, (about 3 to 4 lbs)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces sour cream

6 to 8 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 to 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Peel and quarter potatoes. In a large saucepan, cook potatoes in enough water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain off liquid. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, garlic powder, and pepper. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer till fluffy. Turn mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Top with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Cover and bake in 350° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. Serves 8 to 10.


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 heads garlic (12 to 14 oz. total)
6 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups (a 3-oz. and an 8-oz. package) vegetable cheese (I like Boursin)
About 1 cup chicken broth or milk
Salt and pepper

Pour olive oil into a 9- to 10-inch square pan. Cut garlic heads in half crosswise through cloves and lay cut sides down in pan. Bake in a 375° oven until garlic is golden brown on the bottom and oozing sticky juices, about 35 minutes. Slip a thin spatula under garlic to release from pan. Reserve 1 half-head of garlic; pluck or squeeze cloves from remaining garlic. Meanwhile, rinse and peel potatoes. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Boil in salted water until soft. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add loose garlic cloves and cheese. With a potato masher or mixer, mash potatoes, adding enough broth to make them as soft and creamy as you like. (If you plan to serve potatoes as soon as they are mashed, heat broth before adding.) Season to taste with salt and swirl into a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve with a garnish of reserved roasted garlic. Serves 10 to 12.


5 to 6 large sweet potatoes

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup cream or half and half

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place sweet potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling and placing into a large bowl. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish. Mash the warm potatoes along with butter, cream, vanilla extract, brown sugar, salt, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 cup chopped pecans, and eggs. Spread mashed sweet potato into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of pecans. Bake until thoroughly hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 6 to 8


3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup toasted, ground hazelnuts

1/2 cup cream

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup apple cider

salt and pepper to taste

Place the sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, then stir in the hazelnuts,cream, sour cream, and apple cider. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6 to 8


2 2/3 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 2/3 cups instant mashed potato flakes

1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 1 quart baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the broth, milk, butter and pepper; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in potato flakes. Let stand for 30 seconds; fluff with a fork. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with the cheeses. Bake, uncovered,  for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with sour cream if desired. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 teaspoon minced garlic, or to taste

1/2 cup hot milk

1/4 cup softened butter

salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, puree the artichokes and garlic with the milk until smooth. Place drained potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in softened butter and artichoke puree until the butter has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 5. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. You can also sprinkle Parmesan cheese lightly on the top and bake it for 5 minutes at 375 for a fun crunchy topping.


A non traditional recipe that’s really really delicious

3 eggs, separated
2 to 3 cups cooked mashed potatoes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
2 tablepoons finely chopped sweet red pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.  Separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Set the egg whites aside. In a medium to large bowl, beat egg yolks by hand or with an electric mixer until lemon colored.  Add the mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, green onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper and beat until mixed. In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the potato mixture. Add salt and pepper. Place in a greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon(s) salt

3 large leeks, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/2 cups (1 stick) margarine or butter

1 3/4 cup milk, warmed

1 container (8 ounces) sour cream

1/4 cup chives, chopped

In 6-quart saucepot, place potatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and enough cold water to cover potatoes. Set aside. Cut off root and dark-green tops from leeks. Discard tough outer leaves. Cut leeks into 1/4-inch-wide slices. Rinse leeks in large bowl of cold water, swishing to remove sand; transfer to colander, leaving sand in bowl. Repeat several times. Drain. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add leeks and cook 20 minutes or until golden and very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir often during last 5 minutes to avoid overbrowning. Meanwhile, heat saucepot of potatoes to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Drain. In saucepot, with potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Stir in milk, sour cream, chives, leek mixture, and remaining salt. Reheat. Serves 6 to 8.

 Modified from


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Burch
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 09:10:33

    Hey Eileen!
    Great website! I’ll be hanging out in your vegetable section (because Doron is a vegetarian) and I’m always looking for something he’ll eat. Everything the girls and I have made from your cookbook has been delish!


  2. Trackback: 2010 in review « Cuisine by Eileen

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