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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sage and Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar

Mashed potatoes make me happy. Really, really happy.  They are the ultimate comfort food. This variation has some extra sophistication and savoriness thanks to sage, brown butter, and sharp cheddar. So this is what love is? It's good to be in love. Even when your sweetheart is potatoes. I love you. The flavors of this dish are complex enough to be savored on their own, but also subtle enough to take a back seat if you wish to use them as a vehicle for braised meat and rich gravy like I did here

Psst! did you notice my favorite fiestaware pitcher on the sill?
This is yet another recipe I found in The 150 Best American Recipes Edited by Fran McCullough & Molly Stevens. The recipe was created by Jeanne Thiel Kelley and originally published in Bon Appetit.
 I substituted 2% for the whole milk because it was what I had on hand, but otherwise made no changes or adaptations. It was lovely.

Mashed potatoes with sage and white cheddar cheese
serves 10... or you know, you could make this much and only serve it to 5 people, with full intentions of giving yourself a week's worth of yummy left overs.
4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper
4 TBS (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 TBS plus 1 tsp minced fresh sage
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (9oz)- I used TJ's New Zealand extra sharp cheddar. love that stuff.

1.Cook potatoes in a large pot of water -start potatoes in cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 minutes after reaching a boil, or until potatoes are tender.

2. While the potatoes cook, brown your butter in a small sauce pan. I found this tutorial very helpful to know what to look for, since I had never made brown butter before.  Add 2 TBS of the sage to the butter toward the end of its browning time. 

3.Then add the cream and milk to the browned butter mixture and bring to a simmer.

4. Drain the potatoes, then return to the pot. Stir over medium heat to allow excess liquid to evaporate, then start mashing with a hand masher. I moved my potatoes to the bowl of my stand mixer at this point, but you don't have to. you can continue to use the hand masher for the remaining steps, or use an electric hand held mixer.

5. Add in the cream mixture, then slowly add in 1 3/4 cups of  the shredded cheese, as well as the salt and pepper to season. Mix together to your desired smoothness. 

6. To finish the potatoes (I made them ahead of time, and then refrigerated at this point until shortly before dinner) add the potatoes to a greased baking dish or individual servings in ramekins, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and sage, and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the top is golden.

It's good to be in love.


  1. I have those same plates! (Also, the potatoes look so delicious!)

  2. You know, my ESL students are so amused by mashed potatoes, and I can't really tell why. I think it's the grinding and smashing of food as a form of preparation that they get a kick out of. If you'd used exclusively words that could be found in the combined works of Dr. Seuss, I'd have used this recipe in class this week. Oh well- maybe next time.


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