Thursday, November 29, 2012

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Chives

During the holiday season anything that can be made in advance, and still taste fresh when served, should be done ahead.  The amount of stress reduced is directly related to the enjoyment of the occasion.

Every holiday I cook for a crowd starts with planning the recipes I want to make, and when to make them.  One thing I did different this year was to make the mashed potatoes the day before the holiday meal.  Potatoes don't really seem like a big deal to make on the day, but it's just one less thing to worry about if it's already done.

There are a good many recipes posted online for make-ahead mashed potatoes, and my plan was to test one of those out before the holiday rolled around.  Of course, I didn't have all the ingredients for any particular recipe, so I had to improvise.  My immediate family really enjoyed the result, and when I made the recipe again for Thanksgiving, it was one of the factors that contributed to our early meal.  I was shooting for a 2pm dinner.  Not because I like to eat that early, but because most folks seem to schedule it at that time.  However, I've never eaten a holiday meal at the planned 2pm time.  Every holiday there is some setback (usually involving the turkey) that leaves everyone waiting around until 3 or 4pm before eating.  This year I had a pretty lazy morning; enjoying coffee and our family from out of town before starting the meal.  Even though I didn't rush around getting everything going, the make-ahead potatoes, made-ahead pies, and brining the turkey all contributed to an earlier than planned dinner.  It was the exact opposite of every other holiday I've had or been involved with.  The turkey was perfectly cooked in half the time of a non-brined bird, and we found ourselves rushing around throwing together the last minute sides so we could eat while the turkey was hot.  We didn't eat at 4 or 3, or even 2pm.  We were done and cleaned up by 1:30pm!

Take a little extra stress off yourself this holiday season.  Make your mashed potatoes the day before and spend more time relaxing with your family. The following is two of my recipes combined into one delicious pan of mashed potatoes.  Roasted garlic makes plain white potatoes into something special, and it's easily done while you're peeling and boiling potatoes. 

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Chives
1 whole head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 ounces organic chicken broth
4-5 lbs russet potatoes
16-20 ounces water (or enough to cover potatoes)
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons roasted garlic (more or less, to taste)
4-6 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Remove the loose, outer layers of papery skin from the garlic bulb.
Slice off the top of the bulb, about 1/4 -1/2 inch down, cutting just enough to expose the top of the cloves, but still leave the bulb intact. Tear off a 12-inch square piece of foil, place the garlic bulb in the center and drizzle it with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bring the edges of foil up around the garlic, wrapping tightly, and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove packet from oven and carefully unwrap garlic.  Squeeze each clove of garlic out of its skin and use as needed.  Store any leftovers in a zip-top baggie in the fridge or freezer for later use.
Pour the chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, peel potatoes and slice them into 1-inch thick slices.  Add to the boiling chicken broth.  If needed, add water enough to cover the potatoes.  Boil until fork tender.  Remove about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the potatoes.  In a mixer bowl, combine potatoes, cream cheese, butter, roasted garlic, milk, salt, pepper and chives.  Add small amounts of cooking liquid, as needed.  Mix or whip until combined.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and spread potatoes into dish.  Cool and refrigerate overnight.  30 minutes before baking:  Preheat oven to 350° and.remove the potatoes from the refrigerator.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Always wanted to try these and here is the recipe; thanks. Sure looks good.


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