I love taters. It must be the Irish in me, but whatever it is, I can't get enough of them: fried, roasted, baked or mashed. Mmm, mashed. It's by far my favorite way to shovel potatoes into my face. Since we're frying our turkey this Thanksgiving, I wanted a flavor-packed variation since I won't have pan drippings to make gravy. I have some other gravy-making alternatives in mind, but in case those don't quite work out, at least these potatoes can stand on their own. Loaded with cheese, sour cream, bacon and scallions, it's like potato skins in mashed potato form. Creamy and delicious, how could you not want to pile these onto your plate?
There are many variations on mashed potatoes, but this recipe comes more from experience and taste than an actual recipe. It's part how my mom taught me, a little how my sister threw them together last Thanksgiving, and a bit what I had to contribute in my kitchen the day I made them. I used real bacon bits, but for Thanksgiving, I'd splurge and make up real bacon to chop up and add to the mix. We like cheddar cheese, but any will do. And these can be seasoned up with your favorite herbs and spices, so go for it. These mashed potatoes won't take over as the star of your Thanksgiving meal, but they might shine on their own so much, that no one will miss the gravy.
Loaded Mashed Potatoes
1-1 1/4 pounds white or red skinned potatoes
1/3-1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
2 Tablespoons bacon bits
2-3 scallions, chopped (not pictured)
salt and pepper, to taste
Scrub potatoes to clean, then dice into even pieces, about 1 inch cubes. Put diced potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Boil until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Drain off water and return potatoes to pot. Coarsely mash with a potato masher.
Add sour cream and continue mashing to desired consistency, adding more sour cream if needed. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese, bacon bits, scallions, salt and pepper.
Transfer potatoes to an oven safe dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes and cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and serve.
Makes about 6 servings.
The Cookie Princess
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