RECIPE: Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes (2024)

Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network celebrity chef, author of Old-School Comfort Food and the executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurants. Read her blog every Tuesday to get her professional cooking tips, family-favorite recipes and personal stories of working in front of the camera and behind the kitchen doors. Follow her on Twitter at @guarnaschelli.

As promised, here is another suggestion for something new to do with potatoes for your Thanksgiving (or any holiday) table. I always like to branch out with my favorite ingredients and one of those is definitely potatoes. I love all the cool heirloom varieties of blue and red potatoes I find at the market. The Russets and the Bakers are also very inviting. Each one, like each apple, seems to have its own personality. But despite all of these wonderful varieties of spuds, I have only one true potato memory from childhood.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my mom and dad often made a simple baked potato with nothing on it and serving split open with pat of butter. Nothing more. I still love that.

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But the one memory I hold dearest is this recipe. Folding whipped cream into mashed potatoes with Parmesan cheese and baking it. I was about 9 years old the first time I remember watching my mom make this. I couldn’t believe she was taking perfectly good unsweetened whipped cream that belonged (I thought) to a cake or hot fudge sundae and seasoning it with salt (instead of sugar) and gingerly folding it into mashed potatoes.

But the cream lightens the texture of the potatoes and gives them a deep richness without being heavy. Parmesan cheese adds that deep salt factor. Arriving at the table with this baking dish, after the turkey has roasted, rested and been carved, is the ultimate cinematic touch to a holiday table. Your oven is already going to be roaring hot and fresh off the turkey victory. Why not pop a dish of these into the oven to bake as you bring out the rest of your holiday spread? Check it out:

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Mashed Potatoes “Chantilly”

Serves 8

4½ – 5 pounds Idaho Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (Note: make sure the potato chunks are all relatively the same size to assure even cooking)
Kosher salt to taste
¾ cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into slices, plus 1 additional tablespoon butter for greasing the baking dish
1 tbsp. unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the potatoes: In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring the water up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water and allow the potatoes to cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15-20 minutes. Pour the water and potatoes into a colander placed in the sink to drain off all of the water. Return the same pot to the heat and add the milk. Bring the milk to a simmer and carefully add the potatoes back into the pot. Season with salt to taste and whisk in the stick of butter. Whisk until all of the ingredients meld together. Taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
3. Use the remaining tablespoon butter to “grease” the sides and bottom of the baking dish. Add in the breadcrumbs and roll them around inside the dish so it creates a butter/breadcrumb topping.
4. Mash the potatoes: Using a whisk (or an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip the heavy cream until fairly firm. Season with salt. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream and about ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese into the mashed potatoes. Taste for seasoning. Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish and top with remaining Parmesan. Place in the center of the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 15-20 minutes. The top should be light brown from the cheese and the potatoes hot. Serve immediately.

A “luxe” version of mashed potatoes, the whipped cream folded into the hot potatoes is genius, and the baked affect with the Parmesan cheese makes it even better. It makes it almost like a soufflé. I have taken the leftovers and spread them into a sandwich. I have made a Shepherd’s pie by layering leftover turkey meat and gravy with spices and a layer of this on top. Sublime.

  • The only issue? There isn’t always much of this leftover to use the next day. I advise calculating double what you think you need and then doubling that amount again.
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RECIPE: Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes (2024)
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