Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baked (or not) Mashed Potatoes

This is a convenient way to make mashed potatoes if you want to do them ahead and then bake them right before your meal. I don't use this method if I'm making a small batch to eat right away.  I do the usual: potatoes, butter, milk, salt. Very simple. But this is great for holidays or large dinners...or if your cholesterol is low and you need to get more cream cheese into your diet. (Do people like that even exist?)
Yield: 9-10 servings

5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base (or 4 cubes chicken bouillon)
4 tablespoons butter
8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (also known as neufchatel), softened
1 tablespoon onion juice (grate ½ a small onion, then squeeze out the juice)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1.      Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil; add garlic and bouillon and cook until potatoes are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
2.      Drain potatoes, reserving 2-3 cups of the cooking water.
3.      Return potatoes to the pot.  Add butter, cream cheese and onion juice.  Mash with a potato masher (or immersion blender if you don’t like lumps).  Add reserved cooking water as needed to attain desired consistency (if making ahead and baking later, add a little extra liquid so the potatoes don't dry out in the oven). Season with salt and pepper to taste (you may not need any salt, the bouillon water is already salty).

You can stop right here and enjoy or if baking:
4.      Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Transfer the mashed potatoes to a 9" x 13" glass baking dish.  Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until lightly browned and warmed through.  
If making ahead: Transfer potatoes to baking dish; cool completely. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to two days.When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before following baking instructions in Step 4.
potatoes boiling
potatoes draining
I don't like many low-fat or reduced-fat products, but neufchatel is an
exception. I think it tastes great, so I don't use regular cream cheese.
mashing (I don't mind a few lumps, so I don't
bother breaking out the immersion blender)
I like "Better Than Bouillon".  I used to think
that was a horrible name, but really, it says it all.

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