So what do you do when your recently unemployed boyfriend brings home a 10-pound wheel of manchego cheese that was given to him as a parting gift by the now-defunct restaurant that he used to bar-manage? Well, we were recently forced to answer that question, and the answer basically entails putting manchego on everything we cook. Luckily, our Christmas Eve menu will have a Spanish/Cuban theme, so things are working out nicely.
One of our favorite holiday foods is mashed potatoes. It is one of those versatile dishes that we season differently every year. We thought adding some manchego and roasted garlic to our mashers could work. And as it turns out, the dry tanginess of manchego pairs perfectly with the slightly sweet flavor of the roasted garlic and produces an excellent mashed potato recipe. Try it for yourself.
The recipe, after the jump.
Manchego & Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Begin by slicing the bottom 1/8 inch off the garlic (make sure it still stays together in one whole piece). Place it on a big piece of aluminum foil, rub it all over with the olive oil, and pop it in a 400º oven for 45 minutes.
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In the meantime, wash your potatoes and cut them into even-sized chunks. Throw them in a big pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain. Place the potatoes back in the hot pan for a minute or two to dry them out.
We think one important key to not having gummy mashed potatoes is to make sure your butter and milk are warm. Pop them in the microwave and then add to the potatoes. Use a handheld mixer or potato ricer to smash your potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now the fun part - take the garlic out of the oven. Wait until it cools off enough to handle and then start squeezing the roasted garlic out of its papery little skin. You'll want to use about 4-5 cloves worth in your potatoes. Save the rest to eat with toasted ciabatta and goat cheese. Stir the roasted garlic and shredded manchego into your potatoes gently, but be sure to get the flavors well enmeshed.
Put the potatoes in a serving dish and garnish with some freshly minced chives to add some festivity.