Raise your hand if you like mashed potatoes.
Raise your hand if you love ’em!
We have six hands raised in our house.
What I don’t love about mashed potatoes, is all the work they require on the day of a big gathering.
I pretty much loathe the guaranteed potato-water steam facial and sweaty persona I adopt while preparing a batch. I can say that I consistently feel exceptionally more frazzled after putting together a batch of mashed potatoes right along with all the other holiday dishes that are headed to our table for the big celebration – whatever it might be.
They just require so much work. And attention. . . and sweat.
Am I the only one that feels this way?
I’m sort of starting to think so as I write it out.
They’re really not that big of a deal.
It’s just that when you’re making six other things, it’s nice to take one of them off the docket for the day, and I just so happen to have found a very satisfactory way to make that a reality.
These are a great way to get a jump-start on your party meal prep.
Make them the day before, store them in the fridge, then about 40 minutes (plus an hour on the counter) before serving, pop them in the oven to heat them up and give them beautifully golden edges and peaks. They’ll come out hot, creamy, and with a deliciously light and thin buttery crust on the top – which – I don’t know – I’m sure foodie purists and real chefs would say makes them officially not “true” mashed potatoes or something. But we happen to love that crunchy, buttery crust.
Buttery, crunchy, crust on some mashed potatoes – it does a body good.
Gah! I’m dating myself again.
Here, I’ll do it some more so it doesn’t seem so bad:
These potatoes rock.
They’re the bomb.
They’re fresh, fly, sick.
. . . and they’re wicked tasty.
They are mashed just enough but not to oblivion, so they come out of the oven creamy, flaky, and with just enough bumps and small chunks to lend a nice texture. Sour cream adds velvety creaminess, and a hearty dose of butter is just enough to taste. . . well, buttery – but it’s not overpowering. I figure it’s better to leave room for adding a dollop on top of each individual serving that melts into a personal little butter pool.
And they’re not complicated. Just the bare-bones, good ol’ classic mashed potatoes.
Oh! And I almost forgot to mention – they’re easy to transport. They’ll hold up well on a car-ride if you’ve been assigned a potato dish at your next potluck.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds Russet potatoes
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Milk or half and half
More butter for serving day – about 4 or 5 tablespoons
Preheat a large pot of water (5 quarts or more) to boiling.
Meanwhile, wash and peel potatoes.
Once the water is boiling, add the washed and peeled potatoes.
Allow to cook until a fork inserted into the middle of the potato slides easily through. It’s important not to over-cook the potatoes, or they’ll turn out gummy when you mash them, so check often after they’ve cooked for about 20 minutes. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they could take up to 40 minutes to cook through.
Once they are cooked, remove them with tongs or a slotted spoon and put them in a large bowl.
Mash a few times with a hand-held potato masher. Add in sour cream and butter, mash some more. Add in salt, pepper, and garlic powder, mix and mash more. If you like them chunky, you can do all your mashing with the hand-held masher. If you like them creamier, transfer to a bowl that works with your electric mixer and mix on medium speed until they reach the consistency you like. Be sure not to over-beat. This will cause them to become gummy as well. It’s a delicate balance between mashed enough, and mashed too much. If they seem too try, add in a little milk or half and half starting with only a tablespoon at a time. You don’t want them to turn soupy either.
Once you have the consistency you like, transfer them to a large casserole dish (I used 10″x15″).
Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, until about 2 hours before meal time.
On the day of, remove from the fridge 2 hours prior to meal time to allow potatoes to come to room temperature.
After the potatoes have been out for at least an hour, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add several pats of butter to the top of the potatoes.
Bake, uncovered, in oven for about 30-40 minutes, until butter is melted and edges and peaks are beautifully crispy and brown.
*A special note of admission too – the photos were taken the day after we had our big meal, so keep in mind if you like the whole presentation of the little square cut-out, that can happen, but the potatoes are softer and creamier the first time you serve them and they’re less likely to hold a perfectly straight edge as you dish them out.