When it comes to recipes for holidays or large family gatherings, I always want to go all out and do something crazy and new that will impress everyone. More often than not, I end up with a dud recipe because I was too busy to fully concentrate on this new dish, or because I thought I was invincible and didn’t need to test a unique recipe before serving it.
The holidays are already stressful, so all you need is a few simple, foolproof recipes that you can always rely on. You can experiment in January, I promise.
So here are my minimal ingredient Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Just fancy enough that your family will say “oooooooh” but not so crazy that you’ll have to stand on one foot or buy a new weird kitchen gadget to make it. No nonsense, but delicious and goes great with my vegan/gluten-free Thanksgiving Gravy.
NOTE: This is a small batch recipe, and makes about 6 servings. You may need to multiply if you’re making for a large family gathering.
6 small/medium russet potatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup half & half or dairy-free creamer
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (this can be eliminated to make a vegan recipe!)
salt & pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes. Enlist some minions (children or gullible relatives) to help. Tell them it will be fun!
Dice the potatoes, making sure that all pieces are relatively the same size. They will cook faster if smaller, but boiling larger pieces generally leads to a better texture. I chopped mine to about 1-1.5″ wide.
Place potatoes in a large pot, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium to keep the water at a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, and fall apart when poked with a fork. Mine were ready after 20 minutes.
In a separate small pan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Once the garlic starts to get little bubbles around the edges, cook for about 1.5-2 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant, then add the half & half or creamer and stir. Take care not to overcook the garlic, or else it will become bitter. Heat this mixture until warm. (Heating this before adding to the potatoes prevents the mixture from becoming gummy).
Remove potatoes from the stove and drain the water. Do not rinse. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the cream mixture.
Use a potato masher or handheld mixture to mash your potatoes! You can always add small amounts of extra creamer if you feel it’s necessary.
Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper. Mix to incorporate. Take a taste. Or a huge spoonful, you’re the chef. Add salt & pepper as necessary.
And you’re ready to serve!
With this batch, they were complete before something else I was cooking, so I transferred them to a glass dish and put them in the oven with the other food to keep warm. Those few minutes in the oven also gave the potatoes an ever-so-slightly browned top, which makes them seem extra special with no additional effort whatsoever. Which is what I’m all about.