We're trying recipes by Food Network icon Alton Brown that might work for Thanksgiving. If they're good, you'll have a complete guide for the big meal. If they're clunkers, we'll provide you with alternate recipes that are tried and true.
The dish: Mashed potatoes are a staple, a must-have on the Thanksgiving table. Alton's take on this classic dish is a little heavier than I typically prepare. The use of parmesan cheese and half & half can certainly be substituted or just decreased. Given that this recipe will be accompanying other fattening Thanksgiving dishes, I decided to ditch the cheese.
The difficulty: This is a very easy recipe to make. It's one step more than a typical mashed potato recipe in that you have to heat the garlic and cream mixture in a separate pot. Once this mixture is heated through, just add it to the potatoes. Smashing or mincing your garlic is essential, but not difficult if you have decent knife skills.
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The presentation: The recipe doesn't call for it, but I thought a little dried parsley and a pat of butter would make for a nice presentation.
The tips: It is essential to heat the garlic and cream together in a separate pot. The smell is fantastic, and this step allows the garlic to really permeate the dish. Just dumping the garlic and cream into the potatoes without doing this added step would be a mistake. Also, I highly recommend mincing the garlic. Biting into a hunk is not pleasant.
The slim down: Substitute whole or 2 percent milk for the half & half, and feel free to go sans parmesan like I did.
The verdict: I've made mashed potatoes a million times and experimented with countless recipes, and this one is the best. I did have my doubts. I'm a firm believer in using Yukon Golds, but the Russets worked well. The end product was perfectly seasoned, buttery and very fluffy. The garlic definitely came through but did not overpower the potato. Alton's Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes are an absolute winner, and certainly spot-worthy on the Thanksgiving table.