This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
‘’Tis the season!” With the exception of a few lingering pieces of trick-or-treat candy, I’ve said goodbye to the color orange and am now in full blown holiday planning, dreaming, decorating (it’s not too soon) and of course cooking mode. While some may find the cooking portion of the current season an overwhelming undertaking, I find myself lost, elbow deep in flour and spices, with a grin so big it would scare your children. I can’t help it…it’s like the best of everything all at once. Doris Day AND baked goods? AND a crackling fire? It’s just too much. I love this time of year.
Nursing babies, hugely pregnant, or kids hanging on your legs while you’re trying to “make memories”? I’ve been there, it’s a lot, and can be frustrating trying to create holiday magic for everyone with so many obstacles (as sweet as they are). I’m sure I’ll have my moments this year (we all do), but I’ve learned to focus on what really matter to me and my family and let some of that extra stuff go over the years, and because I love the tradition and warmth of comfort foods, I make that a priority and no longer dread my prep time in the kitchen (even if it does come with constant interruptions). One staple I find myself making over, and over, and over again this time of year is mashed potatoes. Whether you’re preparing a classic holiday meal or just want something cozy to go with your beef stew on a rainy night, nothing says home like a great bowl of mashed potatoes. I know when I serve them my kids eyes light up like it’s Christmas, like I just really outdid myself (and I really like that feeling, so I tend to make them a lot). I’m going to make it easy (and delicious) on you by sharing my absolute favorite way to prepare them. I’ll start by letting you in on a little secret…not all potatoes are created equal. The potato you start with matters, and choosing wisely will make all the difference in the texture and flavor.
This recipe isn’t rocket science. It might not change your life, or solve all your holiday conundrums. And I fully acknowledge there are already a myriad of ways to make mashed potatoes (you might already have your favorite recipe, but still you should try these! I had my favorite too, until these came along). The simple addition of boiling the potatoes with bay leaves makes a bigger difference than you might expect. Hand mashing the potatoes until smooth, and then adding rich roasted garlic makes them perfect. These little extra steps of love and effort will have everyone around your table feeling that glow of holiday goodness we all long for this time of year. I’m learning more and more that it really is in the little things. It’s not about doing everything perfectly, but if you can find that niche to pour your heart into and love on those around you, this season will be sure to be full of merriment (and less stress to boot!). So…happy cooking, happy eating…and happy almost holidays.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 sticks butter
1 cup whole milk
3 bay leaves
2 garlic heads
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Set aside. Peel all brown bits of potatoes and cube into one inch pieces. Fill a large pot with cold water and add potatoes and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil and continue to simmer until potatoes are very tender, but not falling apart. Completely drain the potatoes and place it back on the heat. Keep the burner on until the potatoes have completely dried back out. The dryer the potatoes, the more liquid they will reabsorb. Remove the bay leaves at this time. Using your hands (this can get messy) squeeze out the soft roasted garlic from its peel and add the the cooked potatoes. Using a ricer or potato masher, mash potatoes with garlic until smooth. No not use a blender or mixer! They will turn to glue. I promise. In a small saucepan melt butter into the milk until both are hot. Using cold dairy will compromise the texture of the potatoes. Add the milk and butter to the potatoes stirring quickly with a large spoon until fully absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!