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Garlic Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2011

I think I’ve expounded many times on this blog about how much my husband and I love garlic.  Good thing we’re married, or else it could be a problem!  It’s crazy how much I love garlic.  I look for any reason at all to add garlic to any meal.  Hey, a little extra garlic never hurt anyone, right?

It’s only natural that garlic mashed potatoes would be an instant winner in our household as a dinner side dish.  It’s potatoes (which I love – see Potato Salad with a Twist and Potato Hash) and garlic together in a perfect marriage!

Whenever I go out to eat at a restaurant, and mashed potatoes are a side option, 99% of the time, I will substitute whatever side comes with my meal for mashed potatoes.  And if those mashed potatoes happen to be garlic mashed potatoes, that’s even better.  I don’t think I’ve ever met mashed potatoes that I didn’t like.  Seriously, creamy delicious buttery mashed potatoes, what could be wrong with that?  However, when I’d come home and make garlic mashed potatoes at home, I never could seem to replicate the creamy fluffiness and flavor of garlic mashed potatoes I was served at a restaurant.  And then I discovered a new recipe that my husband and I tried one night and I was blown away.  These garlic mashed potatoes are out of this world with garlic flavor, it’s guaranteed to blow you away.

The ingredients are basic: potatoes, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, milk, butter, and herbs (if you desire).

Start with boiling water in a pot large enough to hold your potatoes.  Awhile back, I purchased a 4 piece multi-cooker set that is a normal stockpot, pasta cooker, and steamer with a lid all combined into one.  Even though I’m just boiling potatoes this is perfect.  I take the steamer basket out, and leave the paster cooker in the stockpot, add enough water to cover the potatoes, and then put the lid on and turn on the burner on the stove.  Once the potatoes are in and they’re soft and tender, I only need to remove the pasta cooker while the water drains out the tiny holes back into the stock pot.  It’s simple and convenient.

While you’ve got your pot of water going, peel your potatoes.  I prefer not to have potato skins in my mashed potatoes; especially if they are russet potatoes, with red potatoes, the skin is ok.  Therefore, I peel my potatoes completely before boiling.

Once the water is at a rolling boil and the potatoes are peeled, drop your potatoes into the pot.  Let them go for 20-25 minutes until they get nice and soft and fork tender.  You want the potatoes to be cooked all the way through or else you’ll end up with lumpy and undercooked mashed potatoes.

While the potatoes are boiling, it’s time to prepare the garlic.  This is garlic mashed potatoes after all.  Pour milk (or cream) into a small saucepan over low heat.  Meanwhile, take a couple (or more!) cloves of fresh garlic and mince it really fine.  You want to use fresh garlic cloves rather than pre-peeled garlic cloves that are sold in packages.  The fresh garlic cloves give you a more intense garlic flavor versus pre-peeled garlic cloves that are preserved in chemical preservatives so that they remain fresh.  You’ll want to mince the garlic cloves finely to release all of the flavors and juices and also so you’re not eating huge chunks of garlic in your mashed potatoes.  Remember, we want to flavor the potatoes with garlic, we’re not eating garlic with our potatoes.  When the milk in the saucepan starts to heat up, add the minced garlic right into the milk.  Be careful not to let your milk boil.  We’re not cooking milk here, we’re just heating it up so that it will absorb the flavors of the garlic.  You want your minced garlic to infuse into the milk in your saucepan for about 5 minutes or so.  Remember to keep the heat on low, just enough for the milk to warm up.

When the potatoes are boiled and tender, remove them from your pot and put them directly into bowl.  Use your handy-dandy potato masher and start to work the potatoes and break them up.  If you don’t have a potato masher, you can use a fork as well.  Or, if you’re really fancy and own a ricer, or a potato mill, put your potatoes through the ricer or mill to get really fluffy potatoes.  How much you mash your potatoes is up to how creamy vs. chunky you want your mashed potatoes to be.

Once you’ve broken down the potatoes, add in butter to your potatoes.  How much butter you add is up to your taste preference.  We also tend to add a little bit of chopped parsley.  More for color than anything.  Parsley is a really, really mild herb, so it doesn’t really impart any flavor into your dish.

By now, your minced garlic has steeped in the warm milk enough to have imparted its flavor into the milk.  You should be able to smell the garlic and milk combination.  Pour the garlic milk mixture right into your mashed potatoes.  Start to incorporate the liquid into the potatoes.  As you mix it, the potatoes will naturally start to absorb all of the liquid milk.  That’s exactly what you want.  The potatoes will just suck in all that garlic flavor.  Also add in a little salt and pepper if desired, to taste.

Once everything is incorporated, you’re done!  Garlic mashed potatoes whipped up and ready to serve for dinner!  Give it a taste test, I dare you.  You’ll be amazed at how much just adding minced garlic into simmering milk can really bring out the flavor of the garlic into your mashed potatoes.  Why would you ever want to eat mashed potatoes any other way again?  I can answer that for you, you wont!  And believe me, the pictures don’t do this dish justice at all!

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