Ten ways to reinvent mashed potatoes
Truth is, mashed potatoes don’t need a whole lot of love to come out pretty darn amazing. A little butter (OK, a lot of butter), a little cream or milk (OK, a lot of cream or milk), a bit of salt and pepper, and some muscle are all it takes to convert boring potatoes into one of our favourite comfort foods.
And yet, we always feel tempted to tinker, tempted to tart up our taters, as it were, particularly around the holiday season. Luckily, potatoes are an easy canvas to work with, playing so well with so many flavours. To help you mix things up a bit this year, we came up with our 10 favourite ways to doctor mashed potatoes.
We also offer one bit of advice about making mashed potatoes, no matter how you plan to season them. After you boil and drain them, return them to the pot and set it over low heat for just a minute or so, shaking the pot now and again to prevent sticking. The heat helps dry out the potatoes, and dry potatoes are tastier (because the water doesn’t dilute all that delicious fat you’re about to add).
10 yummy ways to reimagine mashed potatoes:
Start with three pounds of potatoes of your choice, peeled (if desired), then halved and boiled until tender. Drain well, mash, then follow one of these ideas:
Browned butter and sage: Melt 6 tbsp (90 mL) butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then add a handful of fresh sage leaves and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until the sage leaves are crisp and the butter is toasty smelling. Stir into the potatoes and season with salt and black pepper.
Loaded baked potato: Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream, 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled cooked bacon, 1 /3 cup (80 mL) chopped fresh chives and 1 cup (250 mL) shredded cheddar or jack cheese. Season with salt and black pepper.
Caramelized onion: Slowly cook 3 large sliced yellow onions in 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter over medium heat until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. If the pan begins to darken too much, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue cooking. Stir into the potatoes with ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, salt and black pepper.
Ranch: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk, 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard, ½ tsp (2.5 mL) each of onion powder, paprika and garlic powder, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) each of chopped fresh chives, chopped fresh dill and chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt and black pepper.
Parmesan-truffle: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half, 1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese and an ample amount of black pepper. Season with either salt and a drizzle of truffle oil, or with just truffle salt.
Chili-corn: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, 1 cup (250 mL) thawed frozen corn kernels and ¼ cup (60 mL) pickled chopped jalapenos, then season with salt and cayenne pepper.
Sausage and fennel: In a large, deep skillet, brown 1 pound (454 g) of loose Italian sausage with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of crushed fennel seed and a diced leek (white part only). Stir into the potatoes with ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Curry: In a dry skillet, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) coriander seeds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds, 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric and ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper. Toast until fragrant, then crush with a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder). Stir into potatoes with 1 cup (250 mL) green peas (heated), ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream, 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder, and salt and black pepper.
Horseradish: Stir in 3 tbsp (45 mL) prepared horseradish, more or less to taste, along with ½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk, ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream and salt.
Four cheese: Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) half-and-half, ½ cup (125 mL) grated sharp cheddar cheese, 4 oz (114 g) cream cheese at room temperature, ½ cup (125 mL) shredded Asiago cheese and ½ cup (125 mL) shredded Parmesan cheese.
Sausage and fennel mashed potatoes. Potatoes are an easy canvas to work with, playing so well with so many flavours. The right seasonings and add-ins can make for a surefire sidedish success.