Loaded Mashed Potatoes

It's a real shame- I went nearly 20 years of my life thinking I hated mashed potatoes because of those awful imitation blobs they served in the high school cafeteria. Luckily, I'm prone to do odd and impulsive things and one Friday evening as a senior in college, preparing to surprise my post-grad boyfriend with dinner in his Manhattan apartment and armed with merely a fork and a bowl, I got the brilliant idea to smash up a potato.  Maybe it was the hard labor I had to put into mashing that thing, but it was fabulous, and I've been a mashed potato devotee ever since.

I had been loyally mashing up the standard milk and butter potatoes until last Christmas when I received a great recipe for mashed potatoes with brie.  Those were heavenly, but since brie was typically a little out of my price range (Singapore cheese prices, *sigh*), that recipe has evolved into the exorbitant mess I bring you today:

- grated cheese of choice (cheddar is the best bet, small amounts of parmesan are divine and, of course, brie is awesome if you have the luxury)
- about a Tbs of butter/margarine
- a dollop of sour cream
- a dash each of parsley, basil and garlic powder
- bacon bits
- milk as needed
- works best with: yellow or white potatoes, but most others will be just fine

1.  Rinse and wash potatoes and remove any eyes or dark spots.
2.  Chop potatoes into quarters and cover with water in a saucepan or pot.
3.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes more, until the potatoes start to fall apart and the skins are trying to peel off.
4.  Remove the potatoes to a large bowl and add everything but the milk.  Mash with a big wooden spoon until the potatoes reach your desired consistency.  If the potatoes are too dry, add small amounts of milk and continue mashing and mixing until you're pleased with the results.
5.  Enjoy!

  • Since this recipe uses sour cream, there shouldn't be much of a need for milk- if at all -so be sure to mix everything up without the milk first. Otherwise, you're potatoes will be a bit too wet, like the ones in the top photo.
  • Mashing methods vary.  A big spoon, even of the non-wooden variety, is the most popular method and is much easier than you think.  You can also buy spiffy mashers at most kitchen stores that look like this.  My mother always used an electric egg-beater to make super smooth potatoes.  And if you're daring, you could always try the little fork.
  • All the ingredients should be added by taste and the measurements given are just a starting point.  After a time or two, you'll know how much cheese, garlic and sour cream flavor you want your loaded potatoes to have.

  • You'll notice that I do not remove skins in this recipe.  Some people like them and think keeping them in makes your mashed potatoes a bit fancier. They also claim that the skins pack more nutrients.  At any rate, if you just hate potato skins, instead of painstakingly peeling your potatoes before you boil them, I recommend boiling them skin on and in bigger chunks.  The skins pull right off after they're cooked.  
  • Basic mashed potatoes use just butter and milk, but you can mix in any variety of spices and mix-ins to make them loaded to your liking.  I've seen some good recipes with: 
        - garlic and rosemary
        - feta cheese, whipped cream and pepper
        - nutmeg and salt
        - apples, bacon bits and onion

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