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Thanksgiving Part Two: Super simple, deceptively healthy mashed potatoes

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Nutrition Information, Recipes

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without mashed potatoes.  What kind of potatoes, though, is up for debate.  I grew up on my mom’s mashed sweet potatoes, which are just sweet potatoes, spices, and a little butter, baked with a layer of marshmallows on top.  I’m not giving anything else about that recipe away.  But my boyfriend doesn’t love sweet potatoes, so he insisted on having real mashed potatoes.  Considering how easy these are to make, I was happy to oblige.

Ingredients:

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes (These have less starch and more water content, which will create a smooth mashed potato, whereas starchier Russets will make a grainy, fluffy mashed potato.  The choice is up to you.)

  • Milk, as needed (I splurged and used cream because I had it for other dishes)

  • 2 T Butter (less if it’s not Thanksgiving…)

  • 1/4 c sour cream or Greek yogurt

  • Salt and onion salt

  • Pepper

 

  1. Scrub and cut up the potatoes into 1.5 inch pieces.  If you’re using fingerlings, cutting is not necessary.

  2. Boil enough water to cover the potatoes.  Generously salt the water.

  3. Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to easily slide on a fork.  Drain the water.

  4. Mash the potatoes, adding the butter and sour cream/yogurt while the potatoes are still hot.  Drizzle in milk while mashing to get the desired consistency.  A lot of water evaporates during mashing, so milk is necessary to maintain moisture.

  5. Add onion salt, pepper, and salt to taste.

I actually make these on a regular basis.  Contrary to popular belief, potatoes are actually not bad for you (french fries, however, are not a good source of potato).  I don’t peel my potatoes, so I get the full benefits of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B12, magnesium, and iron.

Healthy Mashed Potatoes | foodsciencenerd.com
Mashed potatoes at the ready (front), Gravy in progress (right)

If you’d like to drown your potatoes in something less healthy, my boyfriend and I found this recipe for gravy that I would have eaten with a spoon.  We went through the whole batch in three days, which is definitely not nutritionally sound.

Turkey Gravy (adapted from Ina Garten):

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups, heated

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

 

  1. In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned.  This takes patience, but it is worth it!

  2. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. The French term for this consistency is nape’, which is when you can coat the back of a spoon and a line pulled across the spoon will remain clear (aka the gravy is thick enough that it will not run).  Add the cream. Season to taste and try not to drink through a straw.

For the guide to a perfect turkey, see: Thanksgiving Part One: The Perfect Turkey

For ideas on sides and drinks to serve with dinner: Thanksgiving Part Three:  Healthy Sides (without sacrificing anything)

For two fantastic desserts that actually have health benefits: Thanksgiving Part Four: Healthy Desserts (still no sacrifices)

Thanksgiving Part Two: Super simple, deceptively healthy mashed potatoes

Thanksgiving Part Two: Super simple, deceptively healthy mashed potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Milk, as needed
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Salt, pepper, and onion salt to taste

Directions

  1. Scrub and cut up the potatoes into 1.5 inch pieces. If you’re using fingerlings, cutting is not necessary.
  2. Boil enough water to cover the potatoes. Generously salt the water.
  3. Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to easily slide on a fork. Drain the water.
  4. Mash the potatoes, adding the butter and sour cream/yogurt while the potatoes are still hot. Drizzle in milk while mashing to get the desired consistency. A lot of water evaporates during mashing, so milk is necessary to maintain moisture.
  5. Add onion salt, pepper, and salt to taste.
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