Oven space is always at a premium when you’re cooking a holiday meal, especially Thanksgiving. So made-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. (If you have oven space and sanity for one more last minute task, by all means go with the broiled top just before serving, as in the original recipe.)
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
adapted from Food & Wine magazine, "Herb-Scented Mashed Potatoes", November 2017
- 5 pounds baking 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.
In a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer the butter, cream, milk, and herb sprigs. Turn off heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs.
Pass the potatoes through a ricer and fold in the hot cream. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately, or scrape into flame-proof pan (enameled cast iron is a safe bet) and broil the top (see notes), or refrigerate overnight before reheating (see notes).
Recipe Notes / Tips
- 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.
- Refrigerate Overnight: Put prepared mashed potatoes into the refrigerator overnight. Next day, remove from refrigerator an hour in advance then reheat gently with one of these methods:
- saucepan on stovetop over low - medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
- double boiler over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
- baking dish in oven (350°F 20 - 30 minutes)
- slow cooker (buttered insert, temp set to Low for a couple hours).