Thanksgiving Test: Picking a Mashed Potato Recipe

I have exactly 17 minutes to write this post. That’s how much time I have left on my timer until the pumpkin pie is done and the dried porcini mushrooms are finished rehydrating.

Yes, I’m still hard at work picking recipes for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Today I was baking desserts, and tonight I’m testing a green bean recipe.

Fortunately, all that testing hasn’t been for naught. I’ve come to a decision on the mashed potatoes, and I think I’ve picked a winner.

Originally I wanted to try two mashed potato recipes – one classic and one with a twist. I opted to cook the twist recipe first. I found a great recipe from Ina Garten (in her original Barefoot Contessa cookbook and also available online) that used red new potatoes instead of russet potatoes and mixed in parmesan and sour cream.

I loved these potatoes – you don’t use a ricer or masher to break them up, just the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, and the skins stay behind. Some people might call these mashed potatoes “lumpy,” but I like the extra texture. I think it’s nice to actually chew mashed potatoes.

I would have been happy serving these, but I thought it was worthwhile to test another recipe. (My family never made mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, so I didn’t have a recipe to fall back on.)

I was planning to make traditional buttermilk mashed potatoes, but then I spotted a recipe that I just had to try. On the community-sourced food website Food52, mashed potatoes with caramelized onions with goat cheese was voted the best mashed potato recipe. Just from name alone, this sounded like a compelling recipe.

I made it, and it is great. I prefer the parmesan new potatoes for a couple of reasons: The caramelized onion recipe infused the half-and-half with a bay leaf, and I didn’t love the bay leaf flavor in the potatoes. Overall I preferred the texture of the parmesan potatoes – the caramelized onion potatoes were smoother, but then they had strings of onions running through. I also like the parmesan and sour cream combination better than goat cheese.

So, parmesan smashed potatoes it is. One side dish decided, a few more to go. I’ll be publishing all the recipes I use  when I have the final meal decided. My timer is going off as I type (seriously!), so I’d best return to the kitchen.

  • MaryEllen

    Thanks so much for your potato taste test! I made this one to test the other day and it definitely won against my old standby recipe. I’m making it now for tomorrow!  :)

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