As integral to a traditional Thanksgiving feast as the turkey, mashed potatoes don’t often get a radical update. Frankly, I didn’t really think they needed one, until I tried this brilliant recipe from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I trust Ina’s recipes implicitly — one of her other titles, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, absolutely earned its moniker — but still, I was surprised by just how clever this make-ahead version of the classic mash is.
Traditional recipes can be made ahead of time and reheated without too much harm, but they’re never quite as good as a freshly mashed batch. So year after year, I cooked them in the hectic last hour of Thanksgiving dinner prep. But, thanks to this hack, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this recipe, cooked mashed potatoes are transferred to a casserole dish, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and baked until golden, creating a cheesy potato masterpiece. If you’re the make-it-ahead sort of cook (and really, everyone should be on Thanksgiving), the prepped (but not baked) mashed potatoes can be refrigerated for up to three days. On Thanksgiving, simply pop them in the oven as the turkey rests.
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.
Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the goat cheese, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.
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