Thanksgiving and mashed potatoes. It’s meant to be.
My sister is historically the Mashed Potato Queen (MPQ), her recipe heralded by the potato lovers in our family (that would be all of us). When I started making my own mashed potatoes, I used hers as a benchmark: smooth and creamy, but still honoring the potato with a bit of texture. Buttery, but never too much so. Perfect spread on each bite of turkey, with a bit of cranberry on top. Yes.
Two Thanksgivings ago in Holland, she mentioned using chicken stock for flavor and silkiness. What sounds like a small addition adds immense depth of flavor, especially if you use a rich, good-quality broth. Plus, it lessens the need for extra butter, which means you can have an extra generous serving.
This year, I built on my sister’s classic by adding two things that unavoidably say Thanksgiving to me: rosemary and roasted garlic. Our rosemary plant is off its head growing healthily and begging to be used. Sweet roasted garlic, golden brown and soft from the oven, adds a whole new dimension.
If you have never had roasted garlic, you’re in for a treat. I won’t say too much and spoil the surprise. Just allow an additional 40 minutes of cooking time and bask in the amazing aroma that will fill your kitchen. Or, roast the garlic the night before and add it to the fresh potatoes the next day. Might as well make two, and have a loaf of crusty bread on hand, just in case you can’t curb temptation.
ROASTED GARLIC AND ROSEMARY MASHED POTATOES
Serves 4; recipe easily doubled (tripled) for Thanksgiving day
5 medium-sized potatoes (‘floury’ or non-waxy are best – like Dutch Creams)
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 small head garlic
1 stalk rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200C / 400F. Remove the outermost skin from the whole head of garlic, maintaining the skin on the individual cloves. Slice through the top of the garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Sprinkle with sea salt and a small amount of rosemary, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap snugly in aluminum foil and bake 35-45 minutes until it feels tender when squeezed (with gloves on). Once cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves out and roughly break them up with a fork.
Wash the potatoes and pat dry (if using a tender-skinned potato, no need to peel). Slice in bite-sized bits, and place in a pot of cold water. Cover and bring to a boil, cooking 7-8 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.
Add the chicken stock, milk and butter to the potatoes, and mash together until halfway smooth. Mash in the rosemary and roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.