Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mashed Potatoes, Make-Ahead


Do you run out of oven space on holidays? Especially Thanksgiving? Fortunately, I have 2 regular ovens AND a microwave/convection oven too. When we remomdeled our kitchen a year ago we put in 2 ovens. They are just 27" wide, so the two turkeys took up both regular ovens with no room to spare for side dishes. We baked yeast bread in the small convection oven an hour or so before dinner, and heated up one of the vegetable dishes in the microwave.

Making mashed potatoes at the last minute is not my idea of fun cooking on Thanksgiving. Recently a friend mentioned that she keeps mashed potatoes in her crockpot for holiday dinners. What a great idea, I thought. She said, as long as your potato recipe has a goodly amount of fat (butter, sour cream or something), the potatoes will hold for hours. I'm here to tell you the technique works like a charm. I'll be doing this year after year after year.

Again, I turned to Rick Rodgers' book, Thanksgiving 101, and he has a "Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole" in the 1998 edition. His are baked, but I used the recipe with just one substitution, then piled the 10 pounds of mashed potato mixture into the large crockpot. [I made a double batch.] The recipe below is for 5 pounds of potatoes. I have a very old crockpot - with a ceramic insert. It has the high, low and auto settings, but it's big. Good thing since we filled the pot to the brim with potatoes. These can't be called healthy in any way, but this was Thanksgiving, after all. I didn't skimp - I used full fat cream cheese, and full fat sour cream. Were they good? Abso-posi-tutely, as my dad used to say. I'm looking forward to all the leftovers for tonight's dinner. The pumpkin pie is gone and the broccoli with Hollandaise is gone, but we have lots of the other stuff: the super-moist kosher turkey, dressing, green beans, broccoli/leek puree, gravy AND mashed potatoes!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole/Crockpot Method
Source: mostly based on a recipe from Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers
Servings: 8
5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk (original recipe used milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 T. butter
1. Fill a large pot with water and cut up the potatoes in quarters (or more, depending on the size of the potatoes). Simmer until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart. Drain.
2. Using a hand masher or a hand mixer, puree the potatoes until smooth, then add the cream cheese, sour cream and buttermilk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Pour potatoes into crock pot and dot the top with about a tablespoon or butter. Put lid on and set crock pot at lowest setting. Will hold for several hours.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 391 Calories; 16g Fat (36.8% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 54g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 44mg Cholesterol; 132mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat.
To view a PDF recipe, click title at top.

2 comments:

kari b said...

What an amazing idea & it works perfectly! No more slaving over the stove right before the meal to get hot mashed potatoes! Thanks for the great idea....

Kate said...

I always do my Thanksgiving turkey on the grill- mostly because I love to smoke it, but it also saves on oven space, which then eases my stress. This year's bird turned out beautifully.

This is a great suggestion, and I just love cream cheese in my mashed potatoes.