My children are being raised in a household with two working parents, I was raised by two working parents, as was my mother and to my knowledge her mother before her. Regardless of the obstacle of time – we are all culinarily inclined. We can make a mean roast, soup, stew, chop, steak and a slew of vegetables to ride alongside (pardon me as I pat myself on the back).
Despite our culinary prowess, at some point in our family tree making mashed potatoes fell off. If something had to give, it appears it was the spuds. Many years ago it was an inside joke among the women in our family that one of my cousin’s SO’s raved about our holiday mashed potatoes. “They are so smooth and creamy, I don’t know how you do it” (This is likely an exaggeration as I was about 10 years old). We would laugh about the secret, his name was Hungry Jack. Boxed mashed potatoes – it was all I knew. Quick, easy and passable on even the most food focused holidays.
Fast forward about 15 years and I’m helping cook for a meet the parents/siblings dinner between C and my family. I cannot serve boxed mashed potatoes. They will know. They will judge. In my mind, I knew that as a woman in this era my culinary prowess was not a measure of my worth, success or ability to be a good partner, but yet I panicked over a side dish.
Out of that panic an amazing ‘first generation’ side dish was born that has since made its way to the table for every occasion that calls for a vessel to hold gravy, nestle alongside protein and provide a warm comfort in our bellies. If you need a change up for your next holiday or dinner party I recommend these. They’re almost as easy as the boxed version.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs. Red potatoes
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 whole bulbs of garlic
- Thyme (fresh or dry)
Preheat oven to 350. Slice tops of garlic bulbs to expose the cloves, leaving the outside skins on. Place bulbs (individually) on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and wrap ends up (like a Hershey Kiss). Bake on cookie sheet, approx 40 minutes.
Remove garlic from the oven, open foil packets and allow to cool. Squeeze garlic (should be caramel in color and soft) from the bulb into a separate bowl and mash into a paste.
Something magical happens in the roasting process. The garlic transforms from a from a tangy, harsh taste to a mellow, rich paste that you could eat with crackers (or a spoon).
While the garlic is roasting – scrub and peel the eyes and any imperfections from the potatoes. Leaving a bit of skin on for texture. Dice into evenly shaped chunks and add to a pot of room temp, salty water. Cover and turn on the heat, boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
Before draining, steal a cup of starchy water from the pot for use in gravy later (if needed). Drain and return potatoes to pot.
Bring it Together:
While hot, add butter (cut into cubes) and smash with a potato masher. Begin adding heavy cream while mashing. Keep going until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper and roasted garlic and ensure evenly distributed throughout. Taste and add additional seasoning as necessary.
If you try these – let me know what you think!