Potatoes…Smashed and Gravy

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Mashed potatoes and gravy are an integral part of the Thanksgiving feast.  A fluffy mountain of potatoes with a golden river of rich gravy slowly inching its way down the sides is a most beautiful thing to behold…especially if said plate is sitting in front of me!  I’ve mentioned before I’m completely enraptured with carbs and turkey is just not my poison.  So I’ll stick to the side dishes.  Mashed potatoes are a little boring to look at so I like to boil them skin on and smash them with an old-fashioned potato masher.  I use red skinned potatoes as they boil best.  And the red skin looks good in the finished product.  A 5-pound bag will feed six to eight people, however, I usually make extra because, well, we’re Americans.  We tend to eat more.  Especially around the holidays when we say bye-bye to self-discipline and resolution!  I don’t mash them until they are smooth.  I like to leave in some lumps for texture.  If you don’t want skin then you’ll need to peel the potatoes prior to boiling.  So grab your potatoes and wash them well under cold water making sure to get out all dirt from any crevices.  While they drain in a colander fill a large pot with cold water about 1/3 of the way up.  Peel potatoes, if desired, and rinse again.  Cut each potato into quarters and place in cold water.  Add a good tablespoon of salt to the water, cover pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain well and place pot with potatoes on heat-resistant counter, cutting board or a cool stove top burner.  For a five-pound bag of potatoes add 1 stick of butter, an 8-ounce container of fat-free Greek yoghurt and 1 8-ounce package of cream.  Or you can stick with the tried and true cup of milk and one stick of butter.  Using a hand mixer or old-fashioned masher roughly break up butter, cream cheese and potatoes and mash to your liking.  A handful of freshly chopped chives is oh-so-good added right now.  If the potatoes are still too stiff add a bit of milk.  Taste for salt and serve or return to very low heat, covered, for no more than 45 minutes.  This is not a do-ahead dish and cannot be frozen.  But any leftovers can be mixed with a little flour and egg for some GREAT potato pancakes!

Okay, now let’s talk gravy.  remember all those vegetables that propped up your turkey in the roasting pan?  If not check my last post, The Glorious Bird.  Put all the roasted vegetables in a medium size to large pot.  Add a cup of chicken stock or broth into the roasting pan and whisk all the little brown bits and pieces left on the bottom and sides of the pan.  Pour this also in the pot with the vegetables.  Add 1 tablespoon of Gravy Master to the pot and puree mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender you can also make the gravy in an upright blender, pulsing and blending until smooth.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Sometimes it needs a little garlic powder or onion powder.  If it needs a little thinning add a little more chicken stock or broth to the pot.  Adjust accordingly.  And that’s it.  It is gorgeous!!!

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