Mashed potatoes can get a little boring. True, they’re filling, easy, cheap, and everyone likes them. But, maybe it’s time to add in mashed parsnips…you know, to shake things up a bit.
If you’ve never had a parsnip, it’s really time you did. They have a slight sweetness, kind of like a carrot. In fact, the two are related.
And, just to show you what an adventurous gal I am, I use Yukon gold potatoes in this recipe, rather than the standard russet for mashed potatoes.
MASHED POTATOES & PARSNIPS – makes 3½ cups
- 4 T butter
- 8 oz parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices (cut fat end into half moons)
- 1½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ circles
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock (homemade or purchased)
- 3/4 cup half & half (or half cream & half milk)
- 2 T chives, chopped
Melt butter in pot and add parsnips. Over medium/high heat, sauté until browned – about 10 minutes. Place potato slices in strainer and rinse well to remove excess starch. Let drain. When parsnips have browned, add potatoes to the pot. Cover, decrease heat to low, and cook about 20 minutes – until potatoes are tender. Uncover pot and let set 2 minutes to allow steam to escape. Mash mixture until smooth. Warm the milk and pour 1/2 cup of it into the potatoes. (Use the rest, if needed. Save it for any leftover mash.) Add in chives and fold mixture gently together. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Good old mashed potatoes. Straight forward. Easy to prepare. And, most of all, filling. This last one is important if you have picky eater children (I speak from experience).
But, how about if we fancied-up those potatoes to make them company worthy? What would happen if we added bleu cheese, a little thyme, and topped with port infused sautéed onions? A brilliant side dish, that’s what!
BLEU CHEESE MASHED POTATOES – makes about 3 cups
- 1½ lbs russet potatoes
- 3/4 tsp vegetable oil
- 3/4 tsp butter
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar, packed (it’s not much, but aids caramelization)
- 1/2 lb yellow onions
- 2½ T ruby port (or any sweet red wine such as Masala)
- 3 T butter, melted
- 6 T half & half
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/3 tsp dried)
- 2 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Place whole potatoes (with skin intact) in a saucepan and cover with 1″ water. Bring to simmer and cook until easily pierced with fork – about 35 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the onions. Cut onions into 1/4″ slices. In a nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over high heat. Add in 1/8 tsp salt, brown sugar, and onions. Sauté 5 minutes – until they start to lose volume and become a little browned. Decrease heat to medium and continue cooking until well browned (about 20 minutes or so). Add in the port and letter simmer for 5 minutes to evaporate the liquid. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm half & half and thyme just to the simmer point. Cover and set aside.
When potatoes are cooked, remove from water and peel. (They’re very hot so you might want to use a fork to hold them in place, while peeling with a knife.) For best mashing results, use a ricer or food mill. Gently fold in melted butter. Add in half & half, bleu cheese, remaining salt, and pepper. Very gently blend together. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
To serve, top with onions.