Make-Ahead Sour Cream and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

by Lori on November 25, 2010

First off, I never put up blog posts this late at night.  But today, as I was making my some of my side dishes for Thanksgiving, I realized that I needed to change that.  I’m kicking myself for not having shared this wonderful potato dish before now.

I don’t know about you, but mashed potatoes, made right before you serve dinner, are always a challenge for me.  It’s a matter of timing.  Far too often, however, the timing just doesn’t happen quite right, and I’m scrambling to warm the potatoes.

You won’t have those problems when you make these potatoes.  They need to be made 1 to 2 days in advance, refrigerated and baked on the day they will be served.  They can successfully be frozen.  And one time I made them with instant potatoes just to see if it would work.  It did.

I don’t know where this recipe comes from; it’s been circulating in my family for a very long time.  And I have been making these potatoes for what seems like forever.  Not a holiday dinner goes by without them.  They have respectfully earned their place at every holiday table.  That being said, I should make them for dinner parties, because these potatoes are a cook’s best friend.

This recipe is all about the ratio.  It’s super easy and once you make them, the parts will be forever ingrained in your memory.

Peel 5 pounds of russet potatoes.  Yukon Gold potatoes work really well too.  The red skinned potatoes are very waxy and don’t work as well.

Cut the potatoes.  Fill a pot with cold water, cover and place over high heat.  Once the water begins to boil, remove the lid, salt the water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain potatoes.  I drain potatoes in the pot with the lid set ajar, pouring the hot starchy water into my sink.  I then return the covered pot to medium heat.  Holding the lid down with pot holders and grasping the handles, I give the pot a few shakes.  This removes any residual water at the bottom of the pot and dries the potatoes off a bit.  I do this procedure every time I make mashed potatoes, not just for this dish.

Pour the hot potatoes into a bowl, and immediately add 8 ounces of cream cheese and 8 ounces of sour cream.  (In the this photo, there are 10 pounds of potatoes.  I was making a double batch and giving most of them to J to take to the fire station.  He’s on duty on Thanksgiving.  Anyhow…the room temperature sour cream and cream cheese are in between each 5 pound portion of potatoes.)

Get out your hand mixer and start whipping the potatoes.  Milk is not necessary, but I sometimes add it if the mixture seems thick.  You do not want the potatoes to be at the same consistency as regular mashed potatoes.  They should be thicker at this stage because they will be baked and the cream cheese and sour cream will make them light and fluffy.  That said, if you need a little milk, go with 1/4 cup at a time.  Season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic powder.  I never measure, but I tried to do so today.  Start with 1 tablespoon of the granulated garlic.  I estimate that I use 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic.  Salt and pepper are to taste. Mix in and taste.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Spread potato mixture into a 9 x 13 inch glass or ceramic baker.  Dot the top with butter, about 1 tablespoon.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  On the day you want to bake the potatoes, remove the dish from the refrigerator, place on your counter and allow to come to room temperature.  This takes about 3-4 hours depending on the heat of your kitchen.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, unwrap potatoes, and place in oven until golden brown and puffed.  This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour.  The sides will begin to brown and puff before the middle does.  If you use the back of your spoon to make little peaks and valleys in the potatoes, once baked they will show off a golden color.

You’re going to want these on your Christmas dinner menu!  And your Easter menu…and just about every other entertaining menu you’ve got.   They are that good and that convenient!

Make-Ahead Sour Cream and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds of russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
8 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Granulated garlic powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and cut the potatoes to uniform size.  Fill a pot with cold water, cover and place over high heat.  Once the water begins to boil, remove the lid, salt the water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain potatoes.  I drain potatoes in the pot with the lid set ajar, pouring the hot starchy water into my sink.  I then return the covered pot to medium heat.  Holding the lid down with pot holders and grasping the handles, I give the pot a few shakes.  This removes any residual water at the bottom of the pot and dries the potatoes off a bit.

Place hot, cooked potatoes into a large bowl and add sour cream, and cream cheese.  Using a hand-held mixer whip potatoes until smooth.  Season with granulated garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Spread mixture in 9 x 13 inch glass or ceramic baker, dot with 1 tablespoon of butter, cover well, and refrigerate.

When ready to bake, remove baking dish from refrigerator and allow to sit on counter to come to room temperature, about 3 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Uncover baking dish and place in oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown and puffy.  Serve.

Cooks Notes:
– If instant potatoes are more your speed, it will take 1 16-ounce box plus 4 cups to make a 5-pound equivalent.  My notes in this area are very old, and I didn’t reference the addition of liquid, but my guess is that some milk would be needed to get things going.  Go easy so you don’t end up with a soupy mess. Then add the sour cream and cream cheese and seasonings.  Refrigerate and bake as you would if you were using fresh potatoes.

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