Tuesday Tip Thanksgiving Edition: Seasoning cream for mashed potatoes

garlic and cream for mashed potatoesIt’s the second installment of this year’s Thanksgiving Tuesday Tips!  This is one of my favorite tips (do I say this for all my tips? I hope not but I love all my little gems) that I discovered watching the Food Network a few years back.  It was during one of Tyler’s shows which proves that I can find something interesting even on the shows I don’t like.  Just between you and me, I think Tyler comes across as stuck up and pretentious, but don’t tell him I told you.

For those that like to make mashed potatoes with tons ‘O flavah, you can add in some extra punch by also seasoning up the cream that you use.  In the case of vegans/vegetarians, you can do the same with soymilk (or nondairy liquid of your choosing).  When making mashed potatoes I like having the milk at room temperature, but if I am making them extra special, I will slowly heat the milk up in a pan on the stove with some flavorings.

The most common thing I use is garlic cloves, about 3 of them because I like things extra garlicky.  Blame my Polish side on that quirk.  I will peel and then cut the garlic cloves in half and toss them in the milk.  I heat the milk very gently and keep it warm.  This is not something you want to boil or simmer, just a very gentle heat is all that is needed.  I heat it for about 5 minutes then I turn the heat off and let it hang out until I need it for the potatoes.  I remove the garlic (although you can totally keep it and mix it in) before adding it to the potatoes.  By this point the milk is nice and garlicky, giving the potatoes an extra boost of flavor.

Want spicy?  Add in some peppers!  Just wash, cut in half and toss in.

You can also do this with fresh herbs as well, rosemary being an extremely popular choice.  Same directions, let steep and then remove them before adding the milk to the potatoes.   There’s no reason why one couldn’t use tarragon or some other herb that strikes your fancy at the time.  If you use herbs, don’t forget to reserve some for garnishing the dish later.

In the event you don’t use a creamy base (no milk or soymilk for you) but you use a broth base, either animal based or a veggie broth, this technique still applies.  A broth can also have its flavor bumped up no problem.

Try something new this year with your mashed potatoes and give them some extra flavor!

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