I think that virtually everyone loves garlic mashed potatoes. When I hear about a problem with this dish on FOOD NEWS, the problem usually is how to make the potatoes “garlic-y” enough! For this recipe, I’ve gone to the master, Charlie Trotter, owner of the eponymous restaurant in Chicago – and one of a handful of chefs currently considered to be the best in America. You will notice that he uses about one clove of garlic per potato (one pound of potatoes being about 3 medium-size potatoes) and you can be sure that his version is terrific – but I will say that you might wish to increase that proportion. Because the flavor of the garlic is so mellowed by roasting, I use up to an entire head of garlic for about a pound and a half of potatoes! To that end, the “Roasted Garlic” part of the following recipe roasts 4 heads (AKA “bulbs”) of garlic, yielding about 3/4 cup of soft, roasted garlic pulp. Add the roasted garlic to your personal taste. Any left-over roasted garlic can be reserved for other uses, or simply spread on hot toasted French bread. Cook's Note: I have made these potatoes utilizing the first step (poaching the garlic for 10 minutes in milk) as well as skipping that step (roasting the garlic only in the oven with olive oil) and I prefer the more "garlic-y" flavor of the second version. It is frugal to use the milk when mashing the potatoes if the poaching step is included, but I found the milk to have only a very mild garlic flavor - so I don't think flavor would be a compelling reason to include the poaching step.
|For the Roasted Garlic: (yields about 3/4 cup)
4 whole heads (or “bulbs”) of garlic
3 cups, milk
1/2 cup, olive oilFor the Potatoes:
2 pounds, russet (or “baking”) potatoes – peeled and quartered
1/2 cup, milk
2 tablespoons, unsalted butter
6 cloves, roasted garlic (or to taste, see introductory note above)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Roast the Garlic:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top (pointy end) off each head of garlic to expose the individual cloves (discard the cut portion), and place the garlic heads in a small saucepan. Cover the garlic with the milk, bring to a boil, immediately lower the heat, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Drain off the milk. [Note: you may wish to reserve some of this milk for using in the mashed potatoes. Strain the milk, if necessary, before adding milk to potatoes.]
Place the garlic heads, bottom (root) side down, in an ovenproof pan just large enough to contain them. Drizzle the olive oil over the garlic and cover the pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the flesh of the garlic is soft. Allow the garlic heads to cool in the oil, then squeeze the softened garlic pulp out of the skins. Use immediately or refrigerate in the oil for up to 3 days. [Note: if using the garlic immediately, reserve the oil for other purposes – it will have a wonderful flavor.]
To Make the Mashed Potatoes:
Place the prepared potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Drain the water, add the milk and butter to the pot, and bring to a full boil over high heat.
Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins (as above) and add to the potatoes. Whip the potatoes with a hand masher until smooth. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. [Note: an electric mixer may be used to whip the potatoes, but over-whipping will cause the starch to become glue-y and the texture will become pasty – so proceed with caution.]