Cooking Techniques

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite sides and a time-honored part of the Thanksgiving meal. Classic mashed potatoes are made with potatoes, butter, milk or cream, and salt and pepper. But this is a dish where you can really get creative. My mother was Scottish and on special occasions she added steamed cabbage, bacon and cheddar cheese to her mashed potatoes. It may not have been health food, but it was delicious. To make mashed potatoes more interesting and more nutritious, try cutting the potatoes with another vegetable – celery root and parsnips add a nutty richness, carrots and sweet potatoes add color and sweetness, and rutabaga and turnips add sharpness that pairs well with game birds, including turkey.

At the Stand

Russet potatoes make the fluffiest mashed potatoes. Look for firm potatoes that smell sweet. Celery root, parsnip, carrots, rutabaga, sweet potatoes and radishes are tasty and healthful substitutions and/or additions.

How to Store

Store root vegetables in a cool, dry place, preferably in a paper bag.

Easy Preparations

Always start your potatoes off in a large pot of cold, salted water. If you are using different vegetables, use different pots for each because their cooking times are not the same. Butter goes in first, just after mashing, to keep the veggies from getting a glue-like consistency. Follow the butter with warm stock, milk, buttermilk or cream, or a mix of both. It’s important to warm the liquid before using, because it absorbs more quickly and requires less stirring, (less glue.) Olive oil and chicken stock are excellent lower calorie stand-ins for butter and cream. Roasted garlic is another flavorful substitution.

Tastes Good With

  • Bacon
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • Cream
  • Garlic
  • Milk
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
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