Monday, December 22, 2008

mashed potatoes with garlic and chives

Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy

Every year we have the same little tussle in our house around the holidays. Mom and Dad -- in their efforts to preserve, save, and protect -- insist that all holiday lights must be turned off when the last person goes to bed. I, however, relish the opportunity to fall asleep in the comforting glow of a Christmas tree. So this is where we butt heads, and the almost ritualistic annual scenario goes something like this: Mom and Dad go to bed. I fall asleep on the sofa next to one of the trees. Mom/Dad shuffles into the room at 3 a.m., turns off the tree, and grumbles something in my direction about sleeping in my own bed. I get up and either turn the tree back on or actually go to bed.

Now, I can see where the turning off of the lights makes perfect sense with our real tree, which is lit with big, multicolored bulbs. Dry tree + hot bulbs = no good. But that's only one tree. All the other trees are lit with tiny, twinkly LEDs, and who has ever heard of one of those spontaneously igniting some artificial greenery and burning down a home? Am I wrong in my belief that it's highly unlikely one of the little sparkly lights will set our home ablaze? No more likely than any other home disaster caused by water pipes, gas lines, etc.?

Mashed potatoes, beloved though they are, are often left off the holiday table because they demand last-minute preparation. However, if you can rope a couple of holiday guests into peeling potatoes for you (trust me, they'll be happy to be given a task), the recipe below should be last-minute manageable even as you wrestle with the roast beast. And the ultra-creamy results are sure to be appreciated by all.

A few pictures of our holiday beast (not so much roasted), just for fun:

Thanksgiving Dasher 1Thanksgiving Dasher 2Thanksgiving Dasher 3Thanksgiving Dasher 4

Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Garlic and Chives

A recipe from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Thanksgiving Entertaining
Serves 10-12

5 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
12 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup minced fresh chives
Freshly ground pepper

Put the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Salt the water, bring to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the garlic and sauté just until it turns opaque, 1-2 minutes. Do not let it brown. Set aside.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and gently bring to a simmer. Set aside and keep warm.

Return the potatoes to the pot and place over low heat. Mash thoroughly with a potato masher.* Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in 3/4 cup of the hot milk, the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the sautéed garlic, and the chives. Add the remaining milk and, if necessary, the reserved cooking liquid, adding just enough for the desired consistency. Stir until light and fluffy. Do not overmix or the potatoes will turn gummy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

* I used an electric mixer for this step.


  1. I know it has been ages -- well, 4 months -- since I last posted. I've been working on some personal projects, but I never quite intended to take a blogging hiatus. The real problem is that my internet connection has disappeared (or moved away, to be more precise). I used to post at night, but now I have to stay late at the office if I want to post. I have an amazing lemon meringue pie recipe that I want to put up, and now that someone has asked, I'll be sure to get to it within the next few days! (Can't say that I love coming in to the office on the weekend though!)