I’m a bit upset. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, but this being 2020 and all, we have to deal with COVID. The rates are the worst they’ve ever been in the United States (though gratefully New York City has remained low in terms of infections compared to the rest of the country). Now each of us is forced to choose between endangering our loved ones or foregoing the holidays altogether. Testing and quarantine isn’t a viable option for my current situation which makes it more complicated. My family made it easy when they called me up and said “please don’t come home”. I am glad the pressure of making the choice of how to approach Thanksgiving is off, but also sad. We’ve given up so much this year, missed or canceled so many things, and yet this is still not over. How is everyone else handling this?
But wait, you didn’t come to a food blog to hear about COVID! Presumably you’re here because you want to eat potatoes. I know I do. And wherever you are for the holidays this year, or whomever you’re with, there can be potatoes.
Last year I wrote about how I learned to cook at Thanksgiving and made my stuffing. This year, we’re making mashed potatoes. Now I know potatoes can be a divisive food at the table. Skins or no skins? Mashed, crispy, or au gratin? What should and shouldn’t go in them?
My potatoes are mashed, no skins, and super creamy with lots of butter, milk, and cheese and popping with Thanksgiving herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme). They’ve been a crowd-pleaser at many a Thanksgiving! How do you like your potatoes?
If you’re looking for other Thanksgiving ideas, try:
This recipe is quite simple in its execution, one pot, and easily customizable. But I am picky about the ingredients. I like Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh herbs rather than dried. Usually I do make this on Thanksgiving, so I’ll chop the fresh herbs at the beginning of the day and throw them into all the savory dishes as I go, making it worth the extra chopping time. On Thanksgiving I like to use butter and cow’s milk, but I’ve also made these with Earth Balance and almond milk without a huge difference in the result. Don’t stress too much about proportions – taste as you go.
Boil the potatoes first. Peel and quarter them and put them in pot (you can leave them in the pot while waiting for the water to boil and they will turn out just fine). You can check how done the potatoes are at any time by sticking a knife into them and seeing if they slide off your knife easily. If they slide off with almost no effort or even break apart when you try to stick the knife through, they are ready and can be drained. If they stick on your knife and are difficult to dislodge, they need more time.
Then start with a little bit of butter, garlic, and rosemary and sauté until soft. Rosemary can be a tricky herb – you want to make sure to remove the woody parts and chop the needles as fine as you can because they can be, well, pointy! Add the potatoes back in, pile the other ingredients on top, and mash away.
While I give general proportions in the recipe below, I do recommend tasting as you go. Once everything is mixed together, these are ready to serve. Happy Thanksgiving!
Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes
30 minutes, serves 4
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3/4 cup butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup milk
- Potato masher
- Put your potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Place pot on high heat and cover until boiling. Remove the cover and boil potatoes until well-done. Test by pricking them with a knife – when the potatoes slide off the knife, they are finished (about 20 minutes).
- Drain the potatoes into a colander. Using the same pot, heat one tablespoon of butter until melted. Lower to medium heat and add the minced garlic and rosemary and sauté until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Then add the potatoes back to the pot. Add remaining spices and about half of the butter, milk and cheese.
- Use a masher to mix everything together in the pot. When well combined, taste and add the remaining butter, milk, and cheese. If still too dry, add more milk. If the flavor is bland, add more butter and cheese. Mash together until well combined. Serve warm with gravy.