Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart. A wonderful mix of comfort food, family time. And chaos. A little of which is expected but too much can quickly turn the fun family celebration into “next year we’re getting take-out!” One of the biggest culprits in that mix of kitchen calamity: mashed potatoes.
To be clear, mashed potatoes are a MUST at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner if for no other reason than to serve as a vessel to hold all the delicious gravy. But that last minute mashing and hauling out of the hand mixer or ricer and “how do we keep them warm while we carve the turkey” conundrum.
The solution? This incredibly easy make-ahead mashed potato casserole Buttery Yukon Gold potatoes are whipped with a little sour cream and topped with a golden, crunchy Parmesan/Panko topping. And best of all: IT CAN ALL BE prepped up to three days before so no frantic, last minute mashing!
A couple of recipe notes. You may certainly use any kind of potatoes you wish, although I am very partial to the Yukon Golds when it comes to mashed potatoes. Purchase the largest ones you can find to minimize the amount of peeling.
And speaking of peeling, if you don’t already own a Zyliss Vegetable Peeler, BUY ONE NOW! For about $9 and free shipping (if you’re an Amazon Prime member), you will get a peeler that will peel vegetables with such ease, you’ll wonder how you ever got along with out it. WELL WORTH THE MONEY!
Another item worth purchasing for this dish and countless others is a jar of Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt. It’s wonderfully balanced and adds a nice depth of flavor without overwhelming the dish.
Lastly a plug for using freshly grated Parmesan cheese in all that you cook. If you can spring for the real deal, Parmigiano Reggiano, go for it! Otherwise there are plenty of domestic brands that taste great (BelGioioso’s Parmesan Cheese is a fave).
The more you can do ahead of time, the more you can spend with your family and loved ones and enjoy a chaos-free holiday. Until next time, be well, eat well and love lots!
Thanksgiving Mashed Potato Casserole*
- 7 TBS softened unsalted butter + more to grease pan
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 TBS + 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2-3/4 tsp Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt (or other brand of seasoned salt)
- 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Dash paprika
- Chopped chives (optional)
Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (See Note 1>) and set aside.
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by about 1 inch. Add 1 TBS salt and partially cover. Bring to a boil over high heat then lower heat, uncover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender and still holding their shape.
Drain, then place potatoes back in the pot. Place pot over medium heat, shaking pan, for about 30 seconds to let some of the excess moisture evaporate. Remove from heat.
Mash potatoes using either a ricer, potato masher or hand mixer (see Note 2>). Add 5 TBS of the butter, sour cream, 3/4 tsp each: Kosher salt, Seasoned Salt and white pepper. Using a rubber spatula, spoon potatoes into prepared baking dish. (Can be prepared up to three days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before final baking).
Combine in a small bowl, remaining 2 TBS softened butter, Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Using your fingers, break up butter and combine to form coarse crumbs. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before final baking).
Heat oven to 400°. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the casserole. Sprinkle a little paprika over top. Bake until golden and bread crumb topping is golden, about 30 minutes (Note> If you double recipe, it may take up to 40 minutes).
Remove from oven. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.
*Recipe adapted from New York Times
NOTE 1> If doubling recipe, use a 9×13-inch baking pan
NOTE 2> For fluffy, super smooth mashed potatoes, nothing works like a Potato Ricer. Standard Potato Mashers get the job done, although more likely to leave some lumps behind (which…some people LIKE lumps!). Last but not least, a sturdy Hand Mixer will get the job done in no time. Just be sure not to over mix or potatoes will become gummy.
NOTE 3> For a gluten free version, use Kikkoman’s Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs.