Do you know what I love more than mashed potatoes? Baked Mashed Potatoes! That’s not our family’s official name for them. Come to think of it, we don’t have an official name. We simply call it “mom’s mashed potatoes.” Our entire clan knows what that refers to: creamed potatoes spiked with tiny bits of chopped onions, blanketed with lots of cheddar cheese and baked until irresistibly gooey. What sets this recipe apart from the rest is the fresh, chopped yellow onions we fold into the potatoes. The subtle crunch and burst of pungent flavor really makes this family favorite stand out.
I know this is probably not the best time of year to introduce y’all to this recipe (with all those resolutions and all). But hey good food, real food, is meant to be enjoyed any time of the year. If you’re struggling with that whole carb thing, or simply can’t stop yourself from over-indulging in anything this delicious and comforting (Hello? That’s me!), then make it when you’re expecting company. Then they’ll be less for you!
If you’ve never made mashed potatoes from scratch, here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years. For one, use russet potatoes. They make the best mashed potatoes. I know I’ll probably catch a lot of flack for that comment, but I’m standing by it! Big. Brawny. Starchy. Russets rule! Next, boil your potatoes whole with the skin on. There are very few recipes that call for cooking the potatoes this way and I’m really surprised by that. I think this is a critical step because the skin protects the potatoes from becoming water-logged (making them mealy) and they’re easier to peel. Third, start the cooking process by placing the potatoes in a pot of cold water. This allows them to cook evenly from the outside in. Fourth, when the potatoes are done (just at the fork-tender stage and not a minute longer), quickly drain them. Remember, excess water is the enemy. Then, mash them gently. Overworked potatoes will be gluey and gummy. Finally, if you’re preparing mashed potatoes in advance (often considered a big no-no), add an additional half cup of heavy cream (skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, half-n-half and buttermilk are fine too) and a few additional tabs of butter. This will insure creamy potatoes for an additional day or two. I promise!
Baked Mashed Potatoes Recipe
6 large russet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Scrub potatoes under cold water to remove any dirt. Place whole, unpeeled potatoes in a large stock pot; cover with cold water. Generously season water with salt. Bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook potatoes, partially covered, until just fork tender, about 30 minutes. Immediately drain potatoes in a large colander. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins by gently rubbing them with your fingers. Discard potato skins. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl; mash with a potato masher until there are no more big chunks. Place milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl; heat on high for 2-3 minutes. Pour milk and butter mixture over potatoes. Add onions. Stir until thoroughly combined. Don’t over-mix potatoes or they will be gummy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer mashed potatoes to a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, 12-15 minutes. Top potatoes with cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges. Serves 6-8.