Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Great Thanksgiving Dilemma

Mashed Potatoes with Sage and White Cheddar

The dilemma of what to serve for Thanksgiving is an internal struggle for me every year. On one hand, I want all my favorites that I've had every year since my childhood (my mom's stuffing, her cranberries, pies, etc.) - all the things that I know and love and really only have once a year. (And honestly, now that I celebrate Thanksgiving with DR's family, too, it's even harder to decide - his mom makes a killer stuffing as well.) On the other hand, the cook in me wants to try new things, experiment to my heart's content - and I've saved a pile of new turkey/stuffing/cranberry/potato/pumpkin recipes to that end. Which to choose? If only Thanksgiving came twice a year! Usually, the part of me that craves my familiar loves wins over...for the most part. I try to make one or two exceptions every year, just to keep my inner chef happy.

This year, I think we may be giving some new mashed potatoes a chance, because I've happened upon this delicious recipe. It starts with plain old boiled potatoes - but then it gets a little more interesting. The potatoes are mashed with cream that's been merrily simmered along with sage in a bit of browned butter. It sounds heavenly just reading that sentence, doesn't it? After mashing, a cup or so of sharp white cheddar is stirred into the potatoes, then they're scooped into a baking dish. After generously sprinkling the top with more cheddar and sage, the potatoes are baked in the oven until the top gets crispy. Gravy is one of the only Thanksgiving-related foods that I'm not fond of, but for those who want it: DR says gravy would be great on these (and if you make a sage gravy, all the better). The best part for those of us who will busily cooking a Thanksgiving meal this year: they can be made ahead, right up to the part where they go into the oven. And yes, they are really, really good.

Last year at this time...Cran-Apple Muffins and Creamy Swiss Quiche


Tracy said...

One year I had my cooking group for a "fantasy Thanksgiving" -- we cooked all those great recipes from the magazines, because we knew our families wouldn't allow us to stray from our family favorites! Your potatoes sound good but on Thanksgiving, our family would revolt!

Elisabeth said...

Tracy, I LOVE the idea of a fantasy Thanksgiving! I wish I had known about it sooner - I totally would have done that this year. Next year, definitely. Thanks for the idea!