Once you’ve settled the whole sweet-potato-versus-regular-potato debate, the next Thanksgiving side dish question you have to contend with is: flavored or not? Would you prefer to dress up a traditional recipe with bold tastes, or do you crave the comforting flavors of tradition? On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, which was devoted to a complete roster of turkey-day side dishes, the co-hosts showcased a cornucopia of ways to prepare squash, dressing and green beans — and the all-important potatoes, of course. Check out both of the new spins on spuds below, one a creatively flavored take on the usual recipe and the other a buttery mainstay with just a hint of extra-special presentation.
Whether you have family gatherings or Friendsgiving planned for later this month, mashed and smashed potato dishes will likely make it onto your table — possibly even for days following the big feast. Since mashed potatoes get more than their fair share of attention during this season, we’re shining a light on some non-mashed potato dishes that deserve a place on your dinner table.
If there were ever such a thing as a potato league, we think these spuds would be named MVP. Hasselback potatoes are easy to make, look great and, above all, taste amazing. It takes only a few extra knife cuts to transform a basic baked potato into this cover-worthy dish. By making thin slices into the potato, but not cutting all the way through, you get crispy edges on top of a fluffy interior. Keep the dish simple with Ree Drummond’s recipe for Hasselback Potatoes (pictured above) using russet potatoes and a topping of butter, olive oil and chives.
Casserole — a meaty, creamy flavor landscape that graces our tabletops in endless forms — can be topped in imaginative ways. No one has ever argued against a sprinkling of grated cheese, and crunchy breadcrumbs certainly deserve an honorable mention. But have you ever tried using potatoes? Mashed, pulsed to a crumb or sliced into thin rounds — the more we test our options, the more we come to believe there’s no better way to finish off a casserole, no matter the filling. Here are the five potato-topped casseroles we’ve had on our minds lately.
30-Minute Shepherd’s Pie
This traditionally English casserole was once prepared as a method for using up leftover pot roast. Rachael Ray simplifies the process by using ground beef, which browns quickly in a saute pan. The main attraction is the heap of buttery mashed potatoes on top, which turn golden after a quick stint under the broiler. You can save even more time by using leftover mashed potatoes.
You’ve dyed the hard-boiled eggs and you’ve readied the ham. But what about the side dishes for your Easter feast? Look no further than a tray of bubbly, oh so cheesy scalloped potatoes. Not only do they feed a crowd, but they’re also endlessly creamy and comforting. Read on below for our best-of-the-best recipes.
Scalloped Potato Gratin
With more than 500 fan reviews and a 5-star rating, Tyler Florence’s easy-to-make recipe is a tried-and-true favorite you can trust. The secret to his recipe is steeping the cream with herbs and garlic for flavor that doesn’t overpower the finished product.
Still putting the finishing touches on your Easter dinner menu? You’re in luck, because this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is the ultimate in crowd-pleasing holiday side dishes, with a 5-star fan rating. Featured in Food Network Magazine, these easy-to-make scalloped potatoes boast all of the ooey-gooey richness you know and love in traditional potato casseroles, but with over-the-top decadence, thanks to a whopping four kinds of cheese. Creamy mozzarella, nutty Asiago and comte, and salty Parmesan combine with buttery, tender potatoes to create hearty, comforting results.
Check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board for more warming recipes.
Get the Results: Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes from Food Network Magazine
To the uninitiated, one potato may seem as good as another. But experienced cooks know that all potatoes are not all-purpose. Some are better for frying, others more suitable for salads. As with so many things, it may come down to chemistry.
“There are hundreds of different breeds of potatoes, and it turns out that beneath that yellow or brown or purple or red skin, they have quite different chemistries,” the BBC noted in a recent examination of the “humble spud.”
Potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Though these super-satisfying root veggies might not lend much in the way of flavor, that’s actually the perk. They work as a blank canvas, becoming whatever you want them to be — the salty crisps, soul-soothing casseroles and mashed mainstays that your family can’t get enough of — with just a little bit of love.
Instead of filling individual potato skins for the twice-baked classic, load everything but the skins into a casserole dish fit for a crowd Ree Drummond’s Twice-Baked Potato Casserole (pictured above). Just like the original, the cheesy, bacon-laced side reaches new heights with two stints in the oven.
Buttery, rich and oh-so-creamy, mashed potatoes are surely a beautiful thing. But when it comes to putting spuds to work, the everyday mash isn’t the only option. This Thanksgiving, no matter what kind of spuds you have on hand, try stuffing your potatoes, or smashing them, souffleing them, roasting them or even turning them into a bisque. Check out Food Network’s best-ever potato picks below for holiday-worthy inspiration.
Stuffed: Think of Tyler Florence’s easy-to-make sweet potatoes as the cousins of the sweet potato casserole you know and love. He bakes the spuds, then fills them up with a sweetened, cinnamon-scented filling of crunchy pecans and gooey marshmallows.
Gah! Potato soup.
First of all, this weather slash temperature slash time of year just begs for potato soup. Really any soup, but especially potato. Why? Because it’s carbs turned slurpable. And creamy. And wonderfully comforting. If someone puts a bowl of potato soup in front of your face there is no universe in which you would push it away. Not possible.
I’ve come up with a very simple potato recipe that’s strong with flavor, but pH-balanced for the little faces in your crib.
Instead of boiling the potatoes in water, we’re using stock. Bam.
Instead of also boiling the veggies, we saute first. Boom.
Instead of heavy cream, I kept it waist-friendly with straight-up whole milk. Biggity.
Can’t not with the butter.
This soup is ridiculous as is! But for your kids, keep it super simple with lots of cheddar cheese on top. Or nothing!
And for the adult faces, we get a little crazy with the toppings. I’m talking crumbled bacon, jalapeno peppers, dollops of sour cream, cheese, some yummy chives. Yes.
Actually, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go throw the rest of this soup in my face right this second. Join me?
Every Saturday we do a family movie or game night. On the menu is some version of a DIY dinner: Make your own pizza, build your own burrito bowl, taco night, you get the idea. Lately my kids are very into the baked potato bar. And because I love to buy potatoes in the 10-pound bag (compare the per-pound price and it’s hard to pass up that bag!), I am all for this fun and inexpensive movie night meal.
Now that I’m a bit of a potato bar expert with more than a few under my belt, I want to share some surprise bonuses to putting this on your menu. I mean, of course baked potatoes are tasty, but check out this list of truly awesome extras.
Bonus 1: Making a ton of potatoes doesn’t really take any longer than making a few. So this meal is ideal for slumber parties, classroom get-togethers and casual entertaining. The only limit is the size of your oven, and a standard oven fits a lot of potatoes.