Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I have been waiting almost a year to share my 2018 Thanksgiving recipes. 🙂

These mashed potatoes were so delicious, my son is planning to make them himself this year as his contribution to the feast. (…and to ensure that they make it back on the menu!) He has also requested scalloped potatoes. :/

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I prepared the potatoes in advance, earlier in the day, and kept them warm in a slow-cooker until the rest of the meal was ready to be served.

The beauty of this recipe is that the potatoes can be made up to TWO days before Thanksgiving. The finished dish can be gently reheated with just a little more dairy. The science behind this is that because the butterfat coats the potato starches, it prevents them from becoming sticky or gummy. If you are apprehensive to make this dish so far in advance, the potatoes can be prepared through step 6 (riced) and the remaining steps can be completed just prior to serving.

Yield: 8 servings

  • 4 lb. medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2/3 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover by 1″.
  2. Add a large handful of salt (water should taste briny, like the ocean) and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender but not crumbly, 30–40 minutes.
  4. Drain and return potatoes to warm pot to dry (off heat).
  5. Meanwhile, heat 2/3 cup cream and 2/3 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium until just about to simmer. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to add to potatoes.
  6. Pass hot potatoes and butter through ricer into a large bowl (this will help combine them quickly; most of the skins should stay behind but pick out any small pieces that get through if you want); season generously with salt.
  7. Mix with a potato masher until butter is melted and combined.
  8. Mixing constantly, gradually add warm cream mixture to potatoes, then mix in sour cream.
  9. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Do Ahead: Potatoes can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. To serve, transfer potatoes to a pot and add 1/3 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup whole milk; reheat over medium-low, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Spinach Spaetzle with Bacon and Sage

This comfort food dish is truly season-less. It’s the easiest fresh pasta recipe EVER. These little German dumplings, or batter noodles, are cooked in minutes. The noodles can be prepared several hours in advance- finishing the dish by sautéing them with bacon and sage just prior to serving.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I modified the cooking method by using a potato ricer to form the noodles. In addition, I increased the spinach as well as the water in the batter. We ate it as a main dish but it would also be delicious as an indulgent side dish.

Yield: 6 servings

Time: about 1 hour

  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  1. Drop spinach leaves into boiling water to blanch, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain spinach and squeeze dry.
  2. Put cooked spinach in a blender or food processor with the eggs and yolks and blitz briefly to make a green purée.
  3. Put spinach purée in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg and the pepper.
  4. Beat in flour and 3/4 cup cold water to make a wet, sticky batter-like dough. Beat for 5 minutes, until lump free. If the mixture seems too stiff, beat in a few more tablespoons cold water. (Because I used a potato ricer, I thinned the batter to a more runny consistency by incorporating an additional 3 T of water.)
  5. Leave batter to rest at room temperature, covered, for 15 minutes. Prepare an ice-water bath. Place a colander within the ice-water bath.
  6. Bring a large wide pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  7. Holding the potato ricer over the boiling water, fill it with 1-2 ladles of batter; close and press the batter into the water. IMG_3886
  8. Let the spaetzle cook for 1 minute or so, until they rise to the surface. Remove with a skimmer and immediately cool in the colander in the ice water. Continue until all batter is used. Drain cooked spaetzle and blot dry. (I placed the spaetzle on a rimmed baking sheet which was lined with several layers of paper-towels.) *Note: The recipe may be prepared up to this point several hours before serving.*
  9. Just before serving, set a large wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and let it render without browning much, about 2 minutes. Pour off fat and leave bacon in pan. (To decrease the mess, I wiped out the fat with paper towels.)
  10. Add the butter and let it foam, then add sage leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the cooked spaetzle and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon until heated through and lightly browned.
  12. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, if desired. Serve immediately with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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