Garlic Mashed Potatoes

As I’ve mentioned in my last posts, I’m on a campaign to vary Thanksgiving dinners at my place. I do realize, however, that there is only so much leeway to be had. I wouldn’t swap out the turkey for some other fowl, nor would I replace the stuffing with wild rice, and I certainly wouldn’t serve dinner without preparing mashed potatoes — although serving the potatoes has proven to be a bit problematic. Over the years, I’ve tried a number of mashed potato recipes that, although not bad, were just not good enough to be the “go to” recipe for Thanksgiving. Then, about 6 years ago, I watched Alton Brown prepare these potatoes and it was love at first sight. Now this is the only way I make mashed potatoes and my dinner guests are very pleased that I do.

Before detailing the recipe, I feel the need to explain my statement about serving potatoes being problematic. (I apologize to those who may have already read a brief recounting of this story in a previous post’s comments.) The apartment I rented before buying my home was what they called “vintage.” The building itself contained three, 3 bedroom apartments, was Victorian in style, and each contained the original unpainted, woodwork, beamed ceilings, original leather wainscoting in the dining rooms,  and the original built-in china hutch in each dining room. Yes, the living rooms and dining rooms were really quite beautiful but, walk down the hall and you entered a kitchen nightmare. Saying that they wanted to “keep it vintage” — we tenants quickly learned that the landlords were just plain cheap — none of the kitchens had any counter space whatsoever. Each had a sink like the one pictured below and that drain board was the only “counter” to be found. There were only 2 small cupboards, as well, and they were located above the sink. To be fair, there was an adjoining pantry but it was of little use when pulling something out of the oven, unloading groceries or, I dunno, just pouring a cup of coffee in the morning.

I moved into that apartment in August and by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I’d only found one table that I liked for the kitchen. It was an old kitchen work table with a flour bin drawer and underneath was enough space for my pots & pans. Best of all, it offered a tabletop surface that I so desperately needed. That first Thanksgiving was going swimmingly. My friends had already finished their pasta and were working on their salads. I was in the kitchen getting everything assembled for the final push. While clearing the salad plates, rather uncharacteristically, I actually remembered the rolls were in the oven and, with counter space at a premium, placed the hot baking sheet full of toasty rolls atop the bowl of mashed potatoes. I served the dinner and, by all accounts, it was very well-received. In fact, near the end of the main course, one friend mentioned that he didn’t even mind not having mashed potatoes. Huh? Sure enough, my potatoes were still in the kitchen, on the table with a now empty baking sheet covering them. Laughing, I served them, more to prove that I did make them than for any other reason. To their credit, my guests all did have some, although I wouldn’t say that they were especially thrilled to see mashed potatoes served so late in the game. Cheesecake, yes. Mashed potatoes, no.

That recipe was destined to be forgotten because once I saw today’s recipe prepared, I never made any other kind. It is certainly my kind of dish, easy to make with very little room for error — so long as you don’t lose ’em in the kitchen. All you do is steep some garlic in heavy cream and combine that cream with some boiled potatoes.  Add a little cheese & butter, and the result is a dish of mashed potatoes with a delicious garlic flavor throughout. Just be aware that when you add the last of the cream, it very well may look like there’s been too much added. Never fear. Just give it a good stir and let it rest. Within minutes, the cream is absorbed and you’ll end up with a beautiful dish of creamy, garlic mashed potatoes.

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lbs of potatoes (Yukon Gold)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Peel and evenly chop potatoes, place in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil over med-high heat, add the salt, and then lower to a simmer.
  2. Continue to simmer potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the potatoes, and return to the now empty saucepan to sit for 5 minutes, allowing them to dry more fully.
  3. Meanwhile, place garlic and cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside until needed. Just before use, pour the cream mixture through a sieve to strain out and discard the garlic.
  4. Once the potatoes have been boiled, drained, and rested,  begin mashing them.  Add some of the cream to make them easier to mash. Once mashed to your liking, add the remainder of the cream and mix well before adding the cheese and butter. Mix to combine.
  5. Let the mashed potatoes rest a few minutes on your stove top while the remaining cream and butter is fully absorbed. Mix well and serve.

*     *     *

Notes

Alton likes to leave his garlic in the cream and mash it along with the potatoes. I prefer to strain it out prior to mashing. I feel that I can better control the level of garlic flavor in the final dish and, also, ensure that no one is served a chunk of garlic masquerading as a potato lump. Whether or not you strain the cream, remember that the longer you allow the garlic to steep, the more garlic flavor will be infused into the cream.

If you look at Alton’s recipe, you may notice that he doesn’t add any butter. No butter in mashed potatoes? Perish the thought! I’ve corrected his oversight in my version of the recipe.

*     *     *

This will be my last post before the Holiday, so, I’d like to wish a happy Thanksgiving to you and all whom you hold dear. And for those not celebrating the Holiday, have a great day and an even better weekend.

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68 thoughts on “Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    • Oh, Mandy, those who dine here by now have come to expect something like missing mashed potatoes to happen. And even if I manage to get dinner on the table without a mishap, I can count on Max to add some of his own special excitement to the dining experience of my guests. 🙂

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too John!
    This mashed potatoes looks amazing, especially with the gravy on top…Yum!
    Enjoy the holyday and don’t forget to let us know your final menu for dinner; after so many delicious suggestions you have made I bet the list of guests is getting longer and longer by the minute…;)

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    • Thank you so much, Giovanna. I’ve very relieved to say that this year, I won’t be cooking the BIG dinner. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I decided to meet at a nearby restaurant and let them do the cooking, and more importantly, the clean-up. For me, this means that I can actually sit with my friends and enjoy their company, rather than be in the kitchen trying not to burn the bruschette or forget the potatoes. I’ll have them over for dinner in a more relaxed setting. 🙂

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  2. I think several of my great aunts had lived in a home like yours!! I could picture it perfectly as I read along! Just like you, I do try to change things up a bit…sooo….I’m going to give this a try! I will use roasted garlic as I like the more mellow nutty taste but other than that, I will follow along with your method! I like that it has parmesan cheese in it.
    I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving! (and no burnt buns or forgotten dishes!)

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    • Like your Aunts’ homes, that sure was a beautiful apartment but my owners used it as a cash cow, never putting anything back into the building. We tenants did all of the maintenance and upkeep. Funny you mentioned following my recipe. I read yours and thought that I would try using roasted garlic the next time I make them. I hope you, too, have a great Thanksgiving, Linda, and a wonderful time with your “kids.”

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  3. A lovely post John and what an amazing apartment to live in, when you have a rubbish kitchen it makes you appreciate the good ones all the more 🙂
    As to the mash, I love the idea of infusing the milk/cream with the garlic (well I would!), and yes to butter please!
    It sounds like a lovely idea, for you to be able to sit down and enjoy your food and the company of friends, I’m sure you will have a lwonderful weekend 🙂 Claire

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    • So true, Claire. No matter how small the counter space or few the cupboards, they will never be as lacking as was the case in that kitchen. All kitchens before and since look very good in comparison. I’m sure we’ll have a great holiday and weekend and hope you do, too.

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  4. One of my all time favorites! I’ve made them as the main course for dinner in my bachelor days. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, we clearly have much to be thankful for.

    By the way that sink is really nice I’d love one like that!

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    • Thanks, David. I’ve never enjoyed these as a main course but I have been known to snack on mashed potato leftovers throughout the day(s) following the dinner in which they were served. I love ’em! May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving, David.

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  5. The Welsh rarebit we made was an Alton Brown recipe and if the potatoes are as rich and delicious as that was…I’m in! And I think I had the same exact sink…or at least something that looked like that. I too lived in several vintage apartments in Oak Park and Wrigley. I loved all of the details of the apartment (the dining room cupboards were my favorites), but yes…the kitchens. One in particular was so small – I think it was the one with that sink. 🙂 I have to admit, somedays I do miss its charm. Happy Thanksgiving John! I hope you have a wonderful day and that Max does too! 🙂

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    • If you lived in Wrigleyville, you probably have seen my old sink — if not in your apartment then in a friend’s. There sure are some beautiful apartments in the city. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Kristy. I cannot wait to see the pics of Miss A & Mr. M helping in the kitchen.

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  6. What delightful mashed potatoes – they sound heavenly! Garlic and cream – oh, my! I’ll try these with some of our leftover turkey! We had a very small kitchen until a few years ago – counterspace was almost non-existent! But we still had lovely dinners and lots of fun! Family, friends and time together is all that really matters! I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving! I know your meal will be perfect!

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    • Thank you, Phyllis. Until I bought more tables and shelving, cooking in that kitchen was a real adventure. One good thing, though, was that there was plenty of room for guests who insisted on gathering in the kitchen instead of in the living room. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving, Phyllis. I ber your table will look beautiful and the food incredible!

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  7. Vintage masquerading as cheap! Good one-and I’m sure quite true! Unfortunately I’m not the one in charge of the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, but I am making your stovetop root vegetables for me! And these potatoes are going into my file for the next dinner gathering I host…they sound fabulous! Debra

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    • I certainly hope you enjoy the stove top root veggies and, as for the mashed potatoes, Debra, you can hardly go wrong with garlic, cream, and butter. I used to alternate between a few recipes. Not anymore.

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  8. Of course you had me after I saw garlic and parmesan…and in potatoes with cream and butter, too? Mashed perfection. That gravy looks really good on there, as well. I once lived in an apartment with that very same or very similar sink, not user friendly! So glad those days are behind you…and me for that matter. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    • I am not the most, shall we say, “sure-handed” in the kitchen. You’ve no idea how many glasses I shattered on that drain board. Yes, thankfully, we’ve moved on … on to butter, cream, parmesan, and garlic! YAY! Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  9. All the best cooks have tiny kitchens. After my tour in Cali where all these girls who NEVER cook have these enormous eNORmous kitchens, now that i am back in my tiny kitchen, I have decided that real COOKS have tiny kitchens! AND I LOVE mashed potatoes, and they love me. I often mash them with garlic but adding the parmesan, grated on my special parmesan grater what a fantastic idea.. PERFECTO!! If I may, I will share one tip with you that my family does. We steam the potatoes for mash. Less water, more flavour. And it takes the same amount of time.
    Let me know how your dinner goes in a restaurant where someone else can burn their arms and lurch from fridge to stove trying not to knock their elbows on the walls and spill any wine out of the wineglass AND do the dishes! I hope you have a lovely day.. (oh and thank you for being such a cool fella) .. c

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    • That is such a great tip about steaming the spuds instead of boiling! Of course, my mind immediately went all Italian and now I’m wondering if this would work for gnocchi. Gnocchi are supposed to fluffy and light but if the potatoes are too wet, the little dumplings are anything but. I’ll tell you about tomorrow’s dinner but, I must admit, already it is a big success. I’m not running around like a fool, working off of 3 different to-do lists, and tripping over Max just about every half-hour. I’m liking this very much. And it’s easy to be cool, Celi, when you hang with the right people. You, Your John, Daisy, TonTon, et al, are the right people.

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  10. Ah, yes, it’s all about large moats in the mashed potatoes for gravy. I agree with Cecilia, sometimes small kitchens are the best. That’s definitely the case for me in my apartment, but I make it work. We always do, right? Happy early Thanksgiving to you, John! Eat lots and lots and lots of food!

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  11. Sounds like a great way to make mashed potatoes! I haven’t had much success making mashed potatoes, so I’ll have to try it this way next time. Garlic infused cream sounds gooood! And that must have sucked having such little counterspace! Good thing you’re in a better kitchen now 🙂

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    • You? Have trouble with mashed potatoes? Well, then give this recipe a try. It goes from one sloppy mess to delightful in minutes and everyone just loves them. You can do it, Stefanie! I’ve got faith in you! 🙂

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  12. Great looking mashed potatoes! I usually roast a head of garlic and then purée the golden cloves in milk (you can do cream) and add that to my riced potatoes while whipping. The garlic is nice and nutty and not overly garlic-y!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, John.

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    • Thanks, Eva. Both Lynda and Greg used roasted garlic in their mashed potatoes recipes. With 3 of you making the recommendation, I think I’ll give roasted garlic a try first here, at home, before next Thanksgiving. I’m sure it will be fantastic! Have a great weekend and I hope you’re feeling better.

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    • Oh, we’re just scratching the surface when talking about things going wrong in my kitchen, especially with my sous chef, Max, around. It always works out, though, and sure does take care of any lulls in the conversation at the dinner table.

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    • Glad you liked them and yes, the garlic flavor is mild, although you can bump it up a notch or two by letting it steep a while longer. I like your idea of roasted potatoes with thyme – I usually use rosemary.

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  13. Happy Thanksgiving John! Of course you added the butter to the mashed potatoes! I cook Thanksgiving dinner only every other year–and I was off this year, so I think I need to catch up and try some inspired recipes such as your mashed potatoes. I find that many of the Thanksgiving recipes work well for Christmas too, so I’ll consider it to be planning ahead. I like the idea of adding parmesan cheese.
    – Michael

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    • Thank you, Michael, and yes, many of Thanksgiving’s recipes do make a comeback at Christmas here, too. I didn’t cook this year either, opting for dinner at a restaurant with friends instead. I must say, it was wonderful, especially returning home to a kitchen that was just as nice as before I left for dinner. I wouldn’t mind this becoming a tradition one bit!

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  14. A day or two off blogging and I almost missed this one… just like the potatoes, it was hiding between other posts;) I’ve never seen them prepared like this and would like to try it, anything garlic, cream and potatoes would be a favorite of mine… I usually leave my forgotten dish hiding in the microwave… once it was the stuffing still lurking inside the turkey:)

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    • I think microwaves are where misbehaving foods go to hide. This dish does have all 4 of a holiday’s food groups: butter, cream, garlic, and cheese. You can’t go wrong — so long as you remember where you put it. 🙂

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  15. I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving John.
    I have tried mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and it was heavenly, I love the idea of infusing the cream with garlic instead.
    I thought my kitchen was laking in counter space but now I am counting my blessings

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    • Thank you, Sawsan. Thanksgiving was really quite nice. I must admit, at first I hated that kitchen. It was only after I bought a few tables and a movable “island” that I began to love it. One thing’s for sure, there never was any clutter. There just wasn’t any place for it!

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  16. I mentioned you as a mystery guest today in the blog. It is a leibster award blog but i did not give you an award, (I hear you sigh with relief) I just wanted to mention your potatoes!!. have you tried the gnocci steamed yet? i made some once with my own ricotta cheese and they were .. awful. I used to eat them in rome all the time, i think they were made with potato though.. but they were tasty, I must troll through your site and see if you have a recipe for me.. c

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    • Sorry, Celi, I replied to your comment but it never posted. Thanks for the mention & congrats on the award! As for the gnocchi, I’ve not tried steaming the potatoes yet. I usually hold off making gnocchi until WInter really hits. I’ve recipes for gnocchi-like “dumplings” with ricotta and they are either baked or boiled. Mom’s were made with just flour, riced potatoes, and egg. I’ll be posting a “how to” recipe in the weeks ahead.

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  17. I will have to try this version of the famous garlic mashed potatoes John. They sound and look heavenly. Don’t you just HATE when you forget to serve something that you have toiled over? I brought fresh cranberry chutney to my mom’s house last Thursday WITH grand marnier doused into it and YET we forgot to put it out. How sad…BUT I did recover well by having them with my breakfast the next morning of left-over turkey dinner. I always have Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast the next day. I can’t help myself.

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    • Oh, Geni, what a pair we’d make! Bad enough we both forget dishes in the kitchen, but you need a turkey dinner-breakfast the next day and I must have a turkey sandwich late Thanksgiving night — and it doesn’t matter what time dinner was served. Well, at least we don’t have the problem of too much left-over turkey in the fridge. We’d probably just lose it anyway! 🙂

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  18. How ever did I miss this post? I found you through Rufus just now and although Thanksgiving has come and gone(still grateful, though) I think your recipe is a MUST make for Christmas with the family in Ohio. Hope you had a wonderful feast and thanks for stopping by my blog and writing great comments. xxooxx

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    • Thank you, Ruth. Thanksgiving was wonderful and I hope yours was, too. I think you’ll like the potatoes; all of my friends do. What I like about them is that I can vary the garlic flavoring by letting it steep longer/shorter depending upon my dinner guests. As for your blog, I look forward to my visit there each day. Without exception, there is always so much more than just the image in the shot to consider and reflect upon. And, of course, the occasional cookie table photo doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

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    • I eventually got it fully equipped and I grew to love it. Truth is, I never should have tried to throw a dinner party, especially Thanksgiving dinner, until it was fully furnished. Still, life would be so dull if we always played it safe. Thanks, Tandy, for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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    • I have a ricer and whether I use it depends upon who is seated at my table. I’ve a couple friends who insist on lumps in their mashed potatoes so that they’re just like “Mom used to make.” When they are not at dinner, I will definitely rice the potatoes. They’re so much fluffier that way. 🙂

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