Oven space is always at a premium when you’re cooking a holiday meal, especially Thanksgiving, so make-in-advance doesn’t really help unless you can reheat whatever it is without putting it in the oven. That’s why this year I’m turning to the slow cooker for the mashed potatoes.
Here’s my plan: the day before Thanksgiving, I’m going to make the scrumptious Herb-Scented Mashed Potatoes that I made last year (Food & Wine, November 2017), then pop them into the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving, sometime after my daughter and I make Parker House rolls and watch the Macy’s parade in our jammies, I’ll get the potatoes out of the fridge to lose some of their chill, then put them into a buttered slow cooker set to Low for a couple hours. This buys me zero oven as well as zero last minute flurry, two big pluses in my book.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
adapted from Food & Wine magazine, "Herb-Scented Mashed Potatoes", November 2017
- 5 pounds potatoes (russet or yukons), peeled and cut into 2" pieces
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 sprigs each rosemary and sage
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt, as you would when boiling pasta. Add potato chunks and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
While potatoes are boiling, bring to a simmer the cream, butter, milk, and herb sprigs in a medium saucepan, then turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs.
When the potatoes are cooked, pass them through a ricer into a bowl and fold in the hot cream. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately, refrigerate overnight, or scrape into flame-proof pan (enameled cast iron is a safe bet) and broil the top (see notes).
Recipe Notes / Tips
- To reheat, transfer to a buttered slow cooker insert and set the temperature to low for a couple hours. They’ll be perfect. Alternatively:
- baking dish in oven (350°F 20–30 minutes)
- saucepan on stovetop over low–medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
- double boiler over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
- Broil Top: Preheat broiler with rack 8" below heating element. Scrape potatoes into a flame-proof baking pan (enameled cast iron, like Le Creuset or Staub, is a safe bet — glass is risky under the broiler). Brush top of potatoes in baking dish with an additional tablespoon of melted butter and broil for 8 minutes, until browned in spots.