Dec 29, 2014

Recipe Box- Momma's Mashed Potatoes

Oh, the holidays!

A joyous time of gift-giving, twinkling lights, and getting the warm and fuzzies from spending time with friends and family. And, if you're like me, it's also about the food. Comfort food. And a lot of it. 

When I realized it had been a month since my last post, I thought that maybe you might appreciate a lighter recipe. You know, something about food that makes you feel good after all of treats we've all eaten at holiday parties. But, then I thought, nah! Just give the people what they want! And, what's that? 

Mashed Potatoes.

Specifically, my Momma's Mashed Potatoes. 

Ya'll, this is my favorite food. My absolute favorite food of all time. This recipe is pure comfort food gold, and something I look forward to every holiday season. 

Momma's Mashed Potatoes- makes enough for 4-5 people

6 large russet potatoes

1 block Neufchatel cheese

1/2 stick salted butter

1/2 c. whole milk or half-n-half

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and chop potatoes into quarters and drop them into a stock pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes with an inch of water and boil for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes, but don't forget to reserve a half a cup of their water. This will help make sure the potatoes tighten up when you start adding all of the other ingredients. Once the potatoes are drained, add in half of the reserved water (1/4 c.) and the milk and get to mashing! Once the potatoes are smooth, drop cubes of room temperature butter into the potatoes and mix in with a fork, Once the butter is incorporated, add in the Neufchatel a few cubes at a time, still mixing with a fork. If the potatoes are too think or thin, this is where your reserved water will come in handy. Once your potatoes are all mixed together, season with salt and pepper to taste, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and transfer the potatoes to a casserole dish.  Smooth out the top of the potatoes, cover with foil and pop them in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes have elapsed, take off the foil and put them back in for 15-20 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I got the scoop from Momma on the details during my Christmas visit this year, and here are her quick tips: 

  • Make sure the butter and the Neufchatel are room temperature. They'll need to come out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before you start cooking.  Also, you'll want to cut them into little cubes before you add them to the pot. Don't just dump the whole thing in there. This is a super important step!
  • Don't use an immersion blender or a hand-held mixer to get super smooth potatoes. Just use your good old masher. As she used to tell me when I was little, lumps are good luck!
  • Use a fork to mash in the butter and the cheese. Seriously. A fork.
  • Once they've finished baking, they need to set-up for at least ten minutes before serving. If you try to serve the potatoes too soon after coming out of the oven, the texture won't be right and they'll be a little too runny. 

Oh boy, I can almost smell these coming out of the oven right now. Yum! And, thanks to my Momma for giving me her recipe!

(photo compliments of Food Network because I ate of the mashed potatoes when I was home last week.)