Mashed potatoes have to be one of my favorite comfort foods of the holiday, heck year round actually! They are just so luscious, creamy, and oh so satisfying. A recent trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon inspired me to make this recipe. We were in heaven! I brought home various cheeses including a Smoked Sharp White Cheddar that had been aged for 18 months. This past Thanksgiving I tried it in my mashed potatoes and the flavors went through the roof! I just had to order more for Christmas dinner! I serve it with a rich mushroom gravy with thyme and shallots, and it’s a winning combination!
Health tips: cheat meal
Mashed Potatoes Ingredients (10-15 servings)
- 5 lbs. russet potatoes, washed and peeled
- 1 cup salted butter, softened, plus extra to top with when serving
- 8 oz. whipped cream cheese
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon Lawry’s reduced-sodium seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups smoked extra sharp white cheddar, shredded (If you can’t find smoked extra sharp white cheddar, you can use a combination of smoked gouda and extra sharp white cheddar, or just extra sharp white cheddar.)
- Chopped chives for garnish when serving (Optional)
- Wash and peel potatoes. Cut in 1 1/2-2″ chunks, and make sure they are around the same size for even cooking.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water, about 1″ above the potatoes.
- Salt water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat a bit to a light boil, and cook potatoes until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and put back in pot over low heat (Tip: It’s important to put potatoes back in the pot so extra liquid evaporates.). Mash potatoes while still hot to avoid gumminess.
- Add in butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, shredded cheese, salt and pepper and mash in. Season as needed.
- You can serve right away or you can also make this a day or two ahead of time. On the day you heat back up and serve, add more half-and-half or chicken broth if more liquid is needed. Garnish with melted butter and chives on top.
Mushroom Gravy Ingredients (10-15 servings)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- A few whole sprigs of thyme, plus extra, about a teaspoon, chopped
- 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced (If they are big mushrooms, you can chop more.)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart low-sodium beef stock (1 box; 4 cups) (Tip: Gravy will be even richer if you incorporate actual beef drippings from another dish, but it’s still delicious without it!)
- 1 tablespoon-1/4 cup half-and-half (I used 1/4 cup, depends how creamy you like it.)
- Heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan until it foams. Stir in shallots and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add thyme sprigs and mushrooms and cook until liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. It looks like a lot of mushrooms but they will cook down.
- Stir in the flour, cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes. Add about 1 cup of beef stock, stirring briskly until incorporated, then pour in the remaining stock and mix thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring often. If you need it to thicken more, take a bit of the liquid and mix in some cornstarch in a cup (You can start with a tablespoon and go from there.).
- Add half-and-half and some fresh chopped thyme. Season with a more salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!