Thanksgiving traditions start on the table, and there isn’t a single food more fitting than mashed potatoes. Cooking connoisseur Elana Horwich is here with her twist on the old classic—a few tweaks (ahem, chicken broth and no dairy) to the old stand-by really kick it up a notch, and it’ll be a surefire hit with your guests.
We enlisted Elana for holiday hosting help as she’s on a mission to bring out the best cook in all of us (and can be learned the easy way via her cookbook, Meal and a Spiel: How to be a Badass in the Kitchen). In our Thanksgiving series, Elana is walking us through all the dinner details from hosting to cooking and everything in between. Keep checking back for more! And now get in kitchen and whip up a new classic, starting here…
These potatoes have passed the taste test of my most sophisticated friends, as well as my toddler nieces. This is food that will have the whole family wanting seconds. Of course, like with most recipes, the key is quality of ingredients. In this case, it all comes down to the broth. If you’re not a homemade broth maker, use cheater’s chicken broth. It’s so easy anyone can make it. These mashed potatoes are textured, not whipped, and keep their skins.
Rustic Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6 to 10
2 pounds russet potatoes, about 4 small or 2 large
4 bay leaves
4 1-inch pieces of fresh rosemary
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1⁄2 to 2 1⁄2 cups no-chop chicken broth or no-chop veggie broth or cheater’s broth (see note below), warmed
1 to 2 tsp kosher salt
20 to 30 grinds freshly ground pepper, optional
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Slice the potatoes in half, keeping the skin on. Place 1 to 2 bay leaves and 1 to 2 pieces of rosemary in between the two halves, and wrap them back together in a double layers of parchment paper and then in aluminum foil. (So it’s not wrapped in metals.)
Bake the potatoes for about an hour or more. They should be soft and easily “squeezable” with oven mitts on. The exact timing will depend on the size of your potatoes. Remove the potatoes and let them sit in their wrapping until they cool a little and continue to soften, about 20 minutes. Unwrap the potatoes, remove and discard the herbs, and cut into the smallest pieces possible.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, 1 1⁄2 cups of the warm broth, salt and pepper, if using. Use a potato masher or potato ricer to mash the potatoes and get out as many chunks as possible, adding more broth to help you smooth them out. (You will still have some small chunks which I find add a delightful texture.) Taste, and add salt or pepper, if needed. Add more broth if you prefer a lighter, thinner consistency. Place the mixture into a medium casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake until very hot, about 30 minutes.
Make ahead tip: If you choose, you can do steps 1 through 6 earlier in day or several days in advance. When preparing the dish ahead, err on the side of adding too much broth, as the dish will dry out a bit in fridge. Transfer the mixture to a medium casserole dish, cover and refrigerate. If you bake it directly from the fridge, give it extra time in the oven.
Note: To make cheater’s chicken broth in a pinch, boil boxed chicken broth with three fresh ingredients such as a carrot, celery stalk, onion skin, bay leaf, parsley, potato peel, etc. to add fresh flavor.