While a glossy, juicy turkey may be a hallmark of Thanksgiving, for many the meal wouldn’t be complete without a scoop of mashed potatoes alongside it — and perhaps a few glugs of gravy on top. The beauty of mashed potatoes is that, unlike many stuffings and casseroles, spuds require only a few ingredients to prepare and they come together quickly. Check out Food Network’s go-to tips below to turn out your fluffiest batch of mashed potatoes yet, then visit Thanksgiving Central for the complete mashed potato how-to.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’d like to give a little shout out to the mashed potato. While the internet will likely now be debating the best way to ensure a juicy turkey (easy: Alton Brown’s brined turkey recipe), or whether stuffing should be cooked inside the bird (I say no), I want to send a little love to the one that really brings it all together; the one item on the Thanksgiving plate that gives gravy its own little well, clearly recognizing that it is far too delicious to be merely drizzled over things. Thank you, mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Eaten alone, they are rich, creamy and earthy. And paired with roasted meats or stews, they become the supporting player, letting the meat shine. At Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes share their space on the plate with an interloping carb, stuffing. And still, the meal seems somehow to make sense. All this, and they are cheap, too! (A tip: Potatoes are usually a much better deal in the 5-pound bag than loose.)
When it comes to rounding out your dinner menu with a few easy-to-make side dishes, look no further than potatoes. From mashing and pureeing to frying, grilling and sauteing, there’s no shortage of ways to prepare the humble spud, including Ina Garten’s preferred method of roasting, which is featured in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. She opts for a few pounds of small potatoes to make her five-star dish, which boasts bold flavor from fresh garlic and a final sprinkle of parsley before serving.
For more top-rated recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: 5-Star Recipes board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Roasted Potatoes (pictured above)
One of the trickiest parts of pulling off Thanksgiving dinner is ensuring that each of the (many, many) components of the meal are ready to eat — and are warm — at the same time. For many, deciding when and how to delegate the precious oven and stove spaces becomes a puzzle as they make mental notes of how long the turkey ought to rest, how quickly water can boil for the potatoes and at what temperature the rolls should bake. This year, however, with the help of Ina Garten, the ever-together hostess, you can tackle one key element of the feast ahead of time: mashed potatoes.
The success of mashed potatoes depends on a super-creamy finished product, and sure enough, when you follow Ina’s boil-and-bake method for her make-ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes from Food Network Magazine, pictured above, the results are soft, smooth spuds. Instead of simply mashing potatoes and letting them rest until dinner — which would likely cause them to turn tough — she assembles the rich, cheesy dish up to three days in advance, refrigerates it, then bakes it with a Parmesan cheese topping before eating.
When it comes to lazy weekends, few things are more welcomed than long, leisurely breakfasts, and with that indulgence surely comes a host of sweet and savory morning classics, like French toast, waffles, eggs, bacon and hash browns. The beauty of hash browns is that the dish can be a version of anything from the rustic simplicity of shredded spuds to a dressed-up potato casserole with fresh veggies. No matter if you like your spuds tender, crispy, sweet or fried, check out Food Network’s top-five hash-brown recipes below to find a mix of classic and creative twists on this morning mainstay, and learn new ways to put the everyday potato to work at your breakfast table.
5. Hash-Browns Makeover — Food Network Kitchen relies on a mixture of shredded parsnips and potatoes to achieve lighter results in its scallion-studded hash browns.
4. Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Green Onion Vinaigrette — Bobby Flay’s big-batch hash browns feature diced sweet potatoes instead of shredded russets, and they’re tossed with caramelized onions and a tangy green onion-Dijon dressing.
Easter is just a few weeks away, and while you may already know that a crowd-pleasing ham or juicy lamb chops will be the star of your spread, it’s time to focus on the all-important side dishes to round out the meal. Both simple to prepare with everyday ingredients and endlessly family friendly, scalloped potatoes are a holiday staple, and whether you stick with a classic rendition featuring cheese and cream, or dress them up with fresh vegetables or meat, they’re sure to wow guests this spring. Check out Food Network’s top-five scalloped potato recipes below from The Pioneer Woman, Bobby, Tyler and more Food Network chefs to find out how they serve this tried-and-true indulgence.
5. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham — Follow Ree’s lead and beef up big-batch scalloped potatoes by layering diced ham among thinly sliced russets and creamy Monterey Jack cheese.
4. Scalloped Potatoes with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers — After quickly broiling the fresh vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness, tomatoes, peppers and onions are baked in a rich potato casserole with a breadcrumb-Gruyere topping for an added crunchy texture and a nutty flavor.
How many times have you made mashed potatoes just so you’ll have leftovers for shepherd’s pie? This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week uses potato tots instead. Not only does this trick save you time, but it makes for a crispy topping that’s a nice contrast to the beef filling.
For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Shortcut Shepherd’s Pie
Would a burger be complete without crispy, salty fries dunked in ketchup? Would your mother’s meatloaf hit the same spot without buttery mashed potatoes? How about your Sunday brunch? Where would it be without a heaping plate of hash browns? Solid potato recipes are the most dog-eared pages of your cookbooks and recipe collections for a reason. The versatility of a simple spud is astounding, and every rendering still manages to pin down a familiar homemade flavor. In the name of everything comforting and good, this week is all about our favorite tried-and-true potato recipes.
1. French-Fried — What better place to start than America’s favorite? Ree’s Perfect French Fries are blissfully golden and crispy.
2. Oven-Fried — Not down for the deep-fry oil dunk? Stick wedges in the oven for addictive Oven-Fried Potatoes.
This week, FN Dish is trading in the grill-kissed ears of corn and pitchers of iced tea for the comforting dishes of early fall. And, hey, who’s complaining? To ring in the crisp air, pumpkin lattes and all that screams fall, we’re turning to the potato to reintroduce our favorite seasonal recipes.
As an ingredient, the potato straddles the line between french fry and mashed potatoes, so it’s the perfect ingredient to usher us into these first days of fall. Each of these potato dishes will remind you of all that we’ve been missing. Many are rich — and all are comforting.
When pureed, potatoes make for a mean soup. Smooth and filling, Ina’s Roasted Potato Leek Soup is nice and elegant, and it works as the idyllic dinner party starter. Food Network Magazine’s Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup is perfect for a special family meal, especially during those first few weeks of the school year. As for Alton’s Leftover Baked Potato Soup, leftover baked potatoes are reborn in a soup that’s silky, luxurious and super rich.
French fries aside, my kids don’t exactly clamor for potatoes. I’ve made them all sorts of ways: oven-roasted fries, mashed with kale and Parmesan cheese, smashed with Greek yogurt, steamed with butter and herbs — and while those options have all had their ups and downs, this technique is the one that brought actual squeals to the table.
The trick was a simple bag of colored potatoes along with a set of vegetable cutters. Together they produced a giggle fest of interest before our girls even tried the potatoes. Before I even baked them. What color will the potato be inside? Will there be stars or hearts? Can I mix them up in the oil?
For roasted potatoes, my favorite way to go is extra-virgin olive oil, garlic pushed through the press, salt and a couple rounds of pepper out of the grinder. Dump all that along with the potatoes right onto a baking sheet, mix with bare hands, spread out and roast at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potato pieces. Flip them once along the way.