One statement that gets me a lot of funny looks in the kitchen is that I don't like mashed potatoes. I know. How could someone not like mashed potatoes?
Well, without getting too graphic, my skewed view of mashed potatoes is the result of an unfortunate run-in that occurred in my childhood. The texture didn't appeal to my underdeveloped palate, but my mother was a stickler for the rules which meant I wasn't allowed up from the dinner table until I finished my plate.
I sat at the table gulping back disgust as I tried to swallow the last few bites of potato, but it was just too much. Before I could react, my gag reflex had gotten the better of me, and the potatoes were making an exit out my nose.
Needless to say, mashed potatoes lost my respect that day. That is until this past Thanksgiving when my father introduced me to "The BEST Mashed Potatoes!" recipe by Gimme Some Oven.
I didn't have dinner with my father this Thanksgiving sadly, but I stopped in during the day, and he wouldn't let me leave without trying these potatoes. As he prepared me a plate I looked on with skepticism, but I couldn't deny that they smelled delicious. I took my first bite and grew wide-eyed. They were everything I'd hoped they'd be and more. "Wow" was all I could manage to say as I finished every last bite.
The secret to this delicious recipe? Cream cheese. For me, mashed potatoes were just never flavourful enough, but cream cheese, garlic, whole milk, and chives come together in a perfect blend of savory, tangy and delicious.
Another key factor to these potatoes being delicious is making sure to not over-mash them. Leaving some pieces unmashed creates more texture and brings out the flavors perfectly.
See below for the full recipe.
5 pounds potatoes (Half Yukon Gold, half Russet potatoes)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fine sea salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
toppings: chopped fresh chives or green onions, freshly-cracked black pepper
Cut the potatoes. Feel free to peel your potatoes or leave the skins on. Then cut them into evenly-sized chunks, about an inch or so thick, and transfer them to a large stockpot full of cold water.
Boil the potatoes. Once all of your potatoes are cut, be sure that there is enough cold water in the pan so that the water line sits about 1 inch above the potatoes. Stir the garlic and 1 tablespoon sea salt into the water. Then turn the heat to high and cook until the water comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high (or whatever temperature is needed to maintain the boil) and continue cooking for about 10-12 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of a potato goes in easily with almost no resistance. Carefully drain out all of the water.
Prepare your melted butter mixture. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are boiling, heat the butter, milk, and an additional 2 teaspoons of sea salt together either in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter is just melted. (You want to avoid boiling the milk.) Set aside until ready to use.
Pan-dry the potatoes. After draining the water, immediately return the potatoes to the hot stock pot, place it back on the hot burner, and turn the heat down to low. Using two oven mitts, carefully hold the handles on the stockpot and shake it gently on the burner for about 1 minute to help cook off some of the remaining steam within the potatoes. Remove the stockpot entirely from the heat and set it on a flat, heatproof surface.
Mash the potatoes. Using your preferred kind of potato masher, mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
Stir everything together. Then pour half of the melted butter mixture over the potatoes, and fold it in with a wooden spoon or spatula until potatoes have soaked up the liquid. Repeat with the remaining butter, and then again with the cream cheese, folding in each addition in until just combined to avoid over-mixing. (Feel free to add in more warm milk to reach your desired consistency, if needed.)
Taste and season. One final time, taste the potatoes and season with extra salt if needed.
Serve warm. Then serve warm, garnished with any extra toppings that you might like, and enjoy!