Mashed potatoes is one of those versatile dishes that works well no matter what time of year it is. Whether it be for a Thanksgiving meal or a Fourth of July barbecue, you really can’t go wrong with a hearty helping of these delicious mashed spuds. It’s a dish that I’ve made a few times before, but I think that with my latest tweaks, this is my best rendition yet.

I made this huge bowl of potatoes for a holiday potluck that we had at work last week; the fact that the bowl was scraped clean by the time everyone had gotten their food (and probably went back for seconds or thirds) was a positive sign of how they turned out. I had to restrain myself from eating all five pounds of potatoes when making it the night before!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Makes 8 – 10 servings

~ 5 pounds unpeeled red potatoes
~ 12 ounces butter (easier to measure with the sticks, not the tub)
~ 4 ounces grated Romano cheese
~ 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
~ 1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves)
~ 2-1/2 tsp salt
~ 2-1/2 tsp dried basil
~ 1 tsp oregano

Prep Work:

  • Take your potatoes and scrub them under running water with a vegetable scrubber. Be sure to peel off any areas of skin that might look bruised as well, but keep the rest on.
  • Cut all your potatoes into quarters and set them aside in a separate bowl.
  • Take your sticks of butter and cut them down into cubes in order to mix easier with the potatoes later on when they get added together. The more surface area exposed to the heat from the potatoes, the faster it will melt, too.
  • Take out your head of garlic and chop off the first half-inch off the top to prepare it for roasting. After putting it on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle olive oil on top of the exposed cloves at the top and wrap everything up until it’s a nice ball. This page helped me out quite a bit when trying to figure things out.

Stovetop / Oven:

  • Fill a large pot with water, add in some salt, and bring that to a boil. While that is going, preheat your oven to 375 degrees in preparation for roasting the garlic.
  • Put your garlic into the oven (in my case, I just used a toaster oven that was preheated for 10 minutes) and roast it for 35 minutes.
  • Once the pot of water reaches temperature, add in your potatoes as well as another light sprinkling of salt on the top.

Quick sidenote: I used an eight-quart stockpot a little over half-filled with water and the water was still bubbling out at times once I had put in the potatoes (I adjusted the heat level afterwards to compensate for the bubbling over.) If you don’t have a large enough pot, consider separating it into two batches of potatoes to cook for better consistency.

  • Boil the potatoes for 35 – 45 minutes until they are soft enough that you can take a knife and cut through them easily when you press them on the side of the pot.
  • Take your pot and drain out the potatoes in the sink, making sure there isn’t any residual water hanging around.
  • When the garlic finishes roasting, take it out of the oven. At this point, all the cloves should be soft enough to be able to squeeze out of their “skin.” Bring those roasted cloves over to the cutting board for a coarse chop before setting it aside.
  •  Throw all of your drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl to begin the mashing process.

Final Steps:

  • Take your handy potato masher and start to mash up the potatoes a little. Incrementally add in your butter cubes and mash the potatoes, alternating so that the potatoes get an even distribution of the melted butter and get smoother to work with as they continue to combine.
  • Once you’ve added in the last of the butter, throw in your grated cheese, salt, basil, oregano, and roasted garlic bits. Mash everything together and mix it all up to make sure the spices and cheeses are all evenly distributed.
  • Be sure to taste the potatoes during this last step to see if you need to make any flavor adjustments to it.

I used the blend of the Parmesan and Romano cheeses since it combined both of what I had in my fridge. You could also go 100% Parmesan or 100% Romano, but just keep in mind that Romano cheese has a higher salt content than Parmesan does, so if you do use only Romano, dial back on the salt a bit, maybe to 2 teaspoons (you can always taste it at the end and add that salt back in if it’s more to your tastes).

I also really like the taste of garlic, but I know that it would be better to play it safe with this dish I was bringing to the potluck and not increase the intensity of the garlic flavor. In the future, to bring out more of the garlic, I would consider roasting an additional five cloves to add in with the chopped bits, or just add in 1-1/2 tsp of garlic powder during the mixing process.

Categories: Recipes

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