Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes can be made up to four days ahead and frozen for up to two weeks. Dairy is essential to the make-ahead aspect of this dish. The combination of cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, butter, and half-and-half create a mashed potato casserole.
Bring the dish to room temperature to reheat. In real time on Thanksgiving Day, when the turkey comes out of the 325F oven, slip in the potatoes with any other sides that need to be warmed. By the time the turkey rests and then is carved for the serving platter, your side dishes are ready for the table or sideboard.
Fresh rosemary leaves can be substituted for the sage sprigs. Gently steeping the herbs in the whipping cream infuses the mashed potatoes with delicate flavor.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 10-12 servings.
3 fresh sage leaves, torn
2 cups half-and-half
5-pound bag Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Minced roasted garlic to taste
Coarse salt and white pepper to taste
Additional fresh sage for garnish
Paprika for dusting (optional)
Additional butter for reheating
1. Place sage leaves and half-and-half in a small saucepan. Let simmer on very low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to infuse the milk with the fresh herb.
2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Add salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and drain.
3. Place potatoes back in pot; return to stovetop over very low heat. Remove sage from half-and-half and discard. Pour warm whipping cream over potatoes. Add butter, cream cheese, 1 3/4 cups Cheddar, nutmeg and garlic. Using a hand masher or an electric mixer, mash or whip potatoes to the desired consistency. Season with coarse salt and white pepper.
4. Pour potatoes into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. Freeze for 2 weeks.
5. To reheat, remove from refrigerator, uncover. Dot top of potatoes with butter. Re-cover potatoes with nonstick foil and warm in a 325F-350F oven for 20 minutes. (At Thanksgiving, I put the potatoes in to reheat when the turkey comes out.) Uncover, sprinkle with remaining Cheddar, and continue to heat 5 minutes. Stir with spoon to fluff and lightly dust with paprika before serving.
Recipe notes: I leave the skins on the potatoes. If desired, you can peel the potatoes after they cool enough to touch after boiling. Substitute rosemary for sage if desired.