Mashed Potatoes Simple or Sumptuous

There is a proverbial elephant in the room this time of year. I am talking about the potato. Specifically the mashed potato.

I’d tell you to make room and squeeze in another chair around the table for this honored guest, except I know you– Mr. Mashed Potato was the first guest you thought of when you started your Thanksgiving invite list.

One reason mashed potatoes show up year after year is because everyone loves them. Let me say that louder EVERYONE LOVES THEM.

The other amazing thing about mashed potatoes is that everyone knows how to make them. There is no wrong way. No matter who makes them and what they put in them they always get scooped onto the Thanksgiving plate before any other side dish.

peeled potatoesSo it’s seems pointless for me to sit here pecking out two different recipes for mashed potatoes. I know that nobody is really going to care about my particular persnickety proclamations. Because each and every one of you will be thinking to himself (or herself– chicks love Sup!)… “Well that sounds good Greg, but I do it this way”. Which just proves my point, when it comes to mashed potatoes there is no one right way. So I may as well hold my opinions to myself.

But that is so unlike me! So to add insult to injury by the time I get through my million and one tips, guidelines and pronouncements people will have lost interest and clicked on through to the next pretty picture presented by those TasteGawkers and FoodBullies. Because the truth is, no matter how many fun facts or historical anecdotes I were to put forth regarding these tasty tubers, I know in my heart of hearts the only question your ravenous family will ask regarding my heavily researched, lovingly written ode to pere spud will be, “Is there more?”…

But a deal is a deal. Besides, it’s hard to shut me up! I said two recipes a day for the entire week, one traditional and one heading off in a whole ‘nother direction! So sit tight and get my take on mashed potatoes two ways. One simple, the other sumptuous. I’ll leave the deciding of which is which to you. Afterall, you seem to have so many damn opinions about potatoes anyway…

Let’s start with traditional. To me the classiest of all the mashed potatoes is the rich and highly aromatic Garlic Mashed Potatoes. It is an easy recipe and it’s quite simple to achieve the very best results. So I call this version Simply The Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Simply The Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes serves 8 click here for printable recipe

  • 4 lb russet potatoes
  • 1 head peeled garlic cloves (about 15)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, head peeled garlic cloves (about 15)

Peel potatoes and quarter lengthwise; cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick. In a 5‑quart saucepan, combine potatoes and garlic cloves; cover with water (about 8 cups) by 1 inch. Add 1‑tablespoon salt.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes.

Drain; return garlic and potatoes to pan. Stir over medium-high heat until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil; pour over potatoes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash until smooth and creamy.

Now that whole ‘nother version I mentioned.

This hefty concoction is what is known as potatoes with all the bells and whistles. It borrows all the great flavors of the beloved Twice Baked Potato, but dishes them out in a big ole yacht instead of a hollowed out little potato boat! Perfect for a Thanksgiving crowd.

Mashed Potatoes with Bacon & Cheddar serves 10 click here for printable recipe

  • 5 lb russet potatoes
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c chives, minced
  • 2 1/2 c cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

bacon cheddar baked mashed potatoesPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1‑inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the onion and any onion juice, chives, 2 cups cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

Transfer to a buttered 3‑quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2‑cup cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.


Greg Henry