Gentle Readers, please lean in close for this family confessional: mashed potatoes are a hotly contested item in the family cookbooks, and have not been served at Thanksgiving in decades, if ever. There are so many different styles, The Practical Cooks Junior don’t eat them reliably, etc. A few years back, The Practical Cook lived up to her name and solved, or rather, bypassed the problem.
Twice-Baked Potatoes Recipe (to the Rescue)
If you’re Martha Stewart, and you may be, you have some complex method for keeping mashed potatoes warm or reheating them. This recipe eliminates the issue, freeing you to wrestle with the bird, enjoy an extra glass of wine, or wreak havoc with Brussels sprouts and a mandoline. Adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated, you can be a fussy cook days in advance, and reheat without batting an eyelash the day of.
8 medium-sized Russet potatoes, plus 2 extras in case something goes tragically wrong, cleaned well, oiled lightly, pierced slightly
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
8 ounces Tillamook cheddar cheese, shredded (I can’t emphasize enough: use a good sharp cheddar or don’t even bother with cheese)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Generous 1 teaspoon of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes on foil-lined baking sheet until they are cooked through, at least an hour. Do not skimp here, or you will rue the spuds. Better to err on a few minutes too long. And don’t skip piercing them. I don’t care what the experts say, until you’ve cleaned up a detonated spud in your oven, you’ve not truly exhausted your cursing vocabulary. When potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a wire rack to cool, about 10 minutes.
2. Cut each potato in half, whilst trying not to burn yourself doing it. I recommend a kitchen towel, a sharp knife, and some tough hands. Use a small spoon and scoop the flesh into a large bowl, leaving the slightest bit of potato on the skin, like a “tato skin” appetizer at a bar. When you’ve scooped them all, put the shells back on the lined baking sheet and return to the oven to dry for about 10 minutes.
3. While the potato flesh (just going to keep using that term, gross) is still hot (grosser), add the butter and mash. Stir in sour cream, buttermilk, black pepper and salt, mash some more. Stir in cheese and scallions, taste, adjust seasonings.
4. Remove shells from oven. Scoop potato mixture back into the shells, mounding them slightly. (Remember, you’ve added volume with the other ingredients, so you’ve got more now.) You can stop at this phase and store the potatoes tightly wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready for the final show. If you’re hungry now, proceed to step 5.
5. Turn the oven on to broil. Put potatoes on a lined sheet and broil them until spotty brown and crisp on top, 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating.
Are you a fan of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? What about twice-baked potatoes? Enter your spud vote by commenting below!
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Tomorrow, it’s a seasonal Tasting Tuesday: Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream.