Basic Mashed Potatoes
Many people consider good mashed potatoes the next best thing to heaven, with good reason. Light and fluffy, good Turkish potato recipes mashed, complement a large variety of foods. Unfortunately, two things turn many cooks away from mashed potatoes. First, there’s the fear and loathing of lumpy potatoes. Second, there’s the boring but typical mash-and-splash method of serving them. That is, once they’re mashed, the potatoes simply get splashed with gravy, and that’s it. So here we present not only a foolproof recipe for the best, smoothest mashed potatoes you ever tasted but also a number of variations that dress up the plain old spuds enough for company.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
6 medium russet or Idaho potatoes, about 2 pounds 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup very hot milk
1. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Put in a large nonaluminum saucepan. Add cold water to cover. Heat to boil; cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Reserve saucepan.
2. Put potatoes through potato ricer held over the saucepan. Or mash with a masher in the pan. Add butter while mashing over very low heat. Add salt, pepper and hot milk. Mash until mixed. Serve immediately.
Mashed Potatoes Au Gratin
Make basic mashed potatoes. Mash in 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Spoon into a buttered shallow baking dish. Smooth top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese such as gouda, Swiss or cheddar. Broil until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Easy Duchess Potatoes
Make basic mashed potatoes. Put into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2- inch star tip. Pipe out onto a buttered baking sheet into rosette-shapes. Broil until golden. Remove from sheet with metal spatula and serve immediately.
Creamy Potato Casserole
Cook 4 pounds of potatoes as directed in basic recipe. Put potatoes through potato ricer held over the saucepan. Or mash with a masher in the saucepan. Mash in 1 package (8 ounces) softened cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 clove crushed garlic and 1/4 cup minced chives. When well mixed, taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon mixture into buttered 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Dot top with 2 tablespoons butter. Bake at 350 degrees until top is golden and potatoes are hot, about 30 minutes.
Sage and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
You can peel the potatoes if you wish; I enjoy the look and flavor of the skins.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 to 10 servings
- 6 or 8 sprigs fresh sage
- 1 or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 medium) Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 2- inch chunks
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 3 medium) russet baking potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 2- inch chunks
- 4 to 6 large cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup each: skim milk, half-and-half
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- Freshly ground pepper
1. Separate sage and rosemary leaves from stems. Slice leaves finely; set aside. Tie stems together with kitchen string.
2. Put potatoes, garlic and herb stems into a large pot. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Heat to a boil; simmer gently with lid slightly askew. Cook, checking potatoes occasionally with a knife, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well. Discard herb stems.
3. Return the potatoes and garlic to the pot. Make a well in the center; pour in the milk and half-and-half. Set the heat to medium. When the milk starts to boil, reduce the heat to low; start mashing vigorously using a potato masher. Add about three-fourths of the soft butter; continue mashing until the mixture is fairly smooth. Season to taste, usually about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in small, nonstick skillet. Add herb leaves; saute until crisped, about 1 minute. Pile hot potatoes into a heated serving dish. Spoon sage butter over potatoes.
Per serving (for 10 servings): 226 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 29 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 437 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
Tangy Potato Salad
One of the great things about being American is the ability to reinvent yourself—even if you’re everyone’s favorite picnic side dish, potato salad. This variation of a classic makes a great Thanksgiving side dish.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours or overnight
- 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into quarters
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped shallots
- 5 tablespoons each: red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, olive oil 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat 2 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Drop-in potatoes and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender but still firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
2. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to the paper towel. Set aside.
3. Add shallots to same pan and cook in bacon fat until limp. Remove. Toss with cooked potatoes.
4. Pour the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat over still-warm potatoes. Toss gently to mix. Add onions, capers, salt and pepper. Toss to mix; cover. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
5. Let stand to room temperature. Add dill, parsley and reserved cooked bacon. Toss and serve.
German Potato Salad
This dish based on the classic recipes of southern Germany uses vinegar and oil in place of mayonnaise to dress up potatoes. It’s best served warm.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 33 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 6 to 7 medium red potatoes 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2 to 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Heat to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Cook bacon, turning occasionally, in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir flour mixture into skillet with bacon, stirring until mixture comes together. Stir in the water and vinegar; cook stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes.
3. Peel warm potatoes; coarsely chop potatoes and eggs. Stir into bacon mixture; stir in mustard. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving:
209 calories, 12% of calories from fat, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 41 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 384 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
Potatoes Vinaigrette with Bacon
If more traditional potato dishes won’t cut it, this innovative take on the spud side dish will do the trick. Plus, it has bacon.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 4 pounds small new potatoes, or medium potatoes, unpeeled Salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, diced
- 1/2 to 1 cup oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1. If using new potatoes, put them, unpeeled, in a large pan of boiling salted water; simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Medium potatoes should be put in cold water, brought to boil and simmered. Drain potatoes; cool slightly; peel. Leave new potatoes whole and cut medium potatoes into large chunks.
2. Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp in skillet. Lift out, using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. While peeled potatoes are still hot, pour over 1/2 cup bacon fat with 1/2 cup oil; mix gently. Alternatively, substitute more oil for bacon fat.
3. Discard all but 1 tablespoon remaining fat from pan; add onion; saute until soft, but not brown. Add to potatoes with bacon; mix gently.
4. Add vinegar to pan; boil, stirring to dissolve juices, until reduced by half. (Stand back as vinegar will sting your eyes.) Pour hot vinegar over salad; mix again. Add mustard and plenty of pepper; mix; taste. If bacon was salty, more salt may not be needed. Potatoes vinaigrette can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Let salad come to room temperature before serving.
Double-Baked Sweets with Curried Marshmallows
Sweet potatoes are a staple of the Thanksgiving table, but this recipe is sure to surprise and impress.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 1/4 hours
Makes: 12 servings
- 6 or 7 medium-size sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds total
- 18 regular size marshmallows (about 6 ounces), quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons mild red Thai or Indian curry paste to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped chives
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put potatoes on a large baking sheet. Bake until a fork pierces them easily, about 1 hour. Let cool until you can handle them.
2. Meanwhile, mix the marshmallow pieces with the curry powder in a small bowl until pieces are nicely coated. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt; mix
again. Mix coconut milk and curry paste in another bowl with an immersion blender, hand mixer or potato masher until smooth.
3. Slice warm potatoes lengthwise in half. Scoop out the soft flesh with a small spoon (I like a serrated grapefruit spoon here), leaving a 1/4-inch thick potato shell; place in the coconut milk mixture. Beat or mash the potato flesh into the coconut milk until very smooth and light. Season to taste, usually about 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the chives.
4. Arrange the potato shells on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Dollop the mashed potatoes with a spoon back into the shells, filling them evenly. Spray or brush the tops lightly with a little olive oil. (Recipe can be prepared to this point up to several hours in advance; refrigerate covered.)
5. Arrange marshmallow pieces over the potatoes. Bake until centers are heated through and marshmallows are golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
Per serving: 133 calories, 3 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 275 mg sodium, 2 g fiber