Mashed potatoes were a staple in our home when I was growing up because it’s a simple and inexpensive dish that compliments many of the foods we ate. Fried chicken and country ham just aren’t the same without mashed potatoes and gravy, and they go well with many other dishes. My mother used to make potato pancakes with mashed potato leftovers, but as the kids grew up there were fewer and fewer leftovers. We still laugh about my brothers and the amount of potatoes they could eat as they grew into the teen years. We passed the bowl around the table until it reached my brother Jeff, and he would always ask, “Anyone want any more potatoes?” then proceed to empty the bowl onto his plate. He still jokingly says it when the family gathers for the holidays, but now he’s got more competition for the potatoes.
I don’t remember Mom ever baking mashed potatoes, but I’ve had them a few times with special dinners and they make a perfect accompaniment to Easter ham. The top takes on a slightly crispy crunch and I add fresh parsley, sage, thyme, and chives from our garden to brighten the flavor. We recently built some raised beds and I transplanted the existing herbs to their new home and seeded some cilantro and dill, both of which like the cool spring weather. Next month we’ll add the basil seedlings and the herb garden will be complete.
This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Nate and Annie of House of Annie are our hosts for this round, so be sure to visit their blog for more information about submitting your post. Deadline for this month is April 30. If you are new to the event and would like to join us, you can read more about the rules for participating at the Grow Your Own page.
[Updated November 23, 2009.]
BAKED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES WITH HERBS
Serves 6 to 8.
3-quart pot with lid
2 quart baking dish, greased
2-3 pounds (~900 g to 1.35 k) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
3 leaves fresh sage, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3 chives, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
2. In the 3-quart pot, cover the potatoes and garlic with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
3. Stir the butter into the drained potatoes, then add the yogurt and Parmesan cheese. Whip with the hand mixer, then stir in the thyme, parsley, and sage.
4. Spread in the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle on the paprika. Bake in the preheated oven until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the chopped chives over the potatoes and serve hot.