Batter Licker

November 29, 2010

slow-cooked garlic butter and parmesan mashed potato trio

If you hosted Thanksgiving like I did this year, you’re probably over the leftovers by now. And if you didn’t host, you’re probably wishing you had snuck some tupperware in so you could still be enjoying the fruits of several days’ worth of cooking.

But either way, I hope that, like me, you will be making and eating mashed potatoes again this winter. And maybe you’ll want something new – a mashed potato recipe that isn’t just a blob of white fluffy potatoes, but rather is a colorful, festive pile of regular and sweet potatoes mashed together to create a creamy-but-not-gloppy texture and flavored with sweet garlic cooked slowly in butter, a bit of salty nutty parmesan, and some fresh lemony parsley.

I won’t say it will be a hit with everyone, although I have had a 99% success rate over three years’ worth of large multi-family Thanksgivings, multi-friends Fakesgivings, and intimate mashed potato-worthy dinners throughout the rest of the year. Certain friends and family have even requested this side dish specifically in anticipation of an upcoming dinner.

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However, if you do happen to know someone who doesn’t enjoy parmesan or, more likely, is lactose intolerant, just omit the cheese and bump up the salt a tad. As for those who don’t like garlic, I’d suggest having them try it anyway, as this recipe features garlic in a subdued, sweetened, slow-cooked form that most garlic-phobes don’t fear; but for those who truly, deeply do mind, omit the garlic and make these into parmesan mashed potatoes. Either way, the range of potatoes used brings an array of textures, colors, and flavors that’s delightful to look at and bite into, especially on a cold evening.

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As mashed potatoes have been among my favorite foods since childhood and because I’ve been the mashed potato specialist at family Thanksgivings for at least 10 years, I’ve tried a wide range of recipes, most delicious and none horrible. But ever since I combined the best of a Julia Childs garlic mashed potato recipe, a terrific Ina Garten parmesan mashed potato recipe, and my own experiments and preferences three years ago, this one has been it. THE recipe of all recipes. So if you’re looking for a delicious change, something more colorful than the average mashed, or a way to use that leftover sweet potato with that random red potato, here it is. My ultimate mashed potato recipe.

Roasted Garlic Butter and Parmesan Mashed Potato Trio
Serves 8

It’s tempting to use half the garlic, especially if you’re peeling the cloves yourself as I typically do. But even Julia Childs warned me against this inclination. Make it with the full amount of garlic the first time around before you go messing with it. Your taste buds will thank you, as the garlic flavor becomes very sweet and quite subdued from slowly cooking in the butter. Trust me; despite the seemingly insane amount of garlic, this recipe will not leave you with breath or pores reeking of garlic.

2 heads garlic (about 30 cloves), peeled
8 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk, boiling
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled
1 lb. Idaho potatoes, peeled
1 lb. garnet sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 c. fresh parsley (or chives), chopped

In medium pot, bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, separate the garlic cloves. Drop garlic into boiling water, and boil 2 minutes. Drain and peel.

In a small covered saucepan, cook the garlic slowly with 4 Tbsp. butter for about 20 minutes until very tender but not browned.

Blend in the flour and stir over low heat until it froths with the butter for 2 minutes without browning. Off the heat, beat in the boiling milk, salt and pepper. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. At this point, you can strain the sweet, subdued, slow-cooked garlic out of the sauce or, if you’re a garlic lover like me, mash the cloves or blend into sauce with immersion blender. Do ahead: Garlic butter and cream sauce may be made in advance. Dot the top of the sauce with bits of butter to keep a skin from forming, then reheat when needed.

Meanwhile, boil enough water to cover the potatoes. Quarter the potatoes, and boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain immediately, and mash the potatoes. Place hot mashed potatoes over moderate heat to evaporate remaining moisture. As soon as a film forms on the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and beat in the remaining 4 Tbsp. of butter. Do ahead: potatoes can be boiled, mashed, and mixed with butter a day in advance, and reheated before you add the hot garlic butter sauce.

Shortly before serving, vigorously beat the hot garlic sauce into the hot potatoes. Beat in the Parmesan and parsley, or sprinkle parsley over the top as a garnish. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

1 Comment »

  1. OMG. This is it. This is what I am making for our NYE dinner. How did you KNOW???

    Comment by Amber — November 29, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

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