A mashup of good flavors.
Mashed potatoes, while beloved, can be a little . . . one-note. That is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if those mashed potatoes function as a blank canvas for rich Thanksgiving turkey gravy or braised short ribs. But what if you want something a little more special? This recipe for mashed potatoes infused with onion, garlic, and herbs does the trick — and is still easy to make.
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Why You Should Steep Your Potato Liquid
This mashed potatoes recipe steeps the butter and milk with aromatics like onion, garlic, bay, thyme, nutmeg, and rosemary. The philosophy here is “basic is better,” while also adding something special — a subtle, sophisticated touch.
The inspiration for this recipe is a classic béchamel. Béchamel is one of the classic French “mother sauces,” a simple white sauce consisting of a roux (butter and flour) and milk, often with a hint of nutmeg. But more advanced béchamel sauces infuse their liquid with aromatics. This recipe skips the flour, but uses the same idea to create a mashed potato recipe that is still 100% classic, but a little more elevated in flavor.
Recipe Notes: Mashed Potatoes Steeped in Flavor
- You can, but do not have to, peel the potatoes. Unlike their thick-skinned russet cousins, Yukon gold potatoes have soft skins that are easily eaten. Gold potatoes also have a creamy, less-starchy texture that I prefer.
- Never, but never, put your mashed potatoes in a food processor to mash them. It releases too much starch and will become a gross, elastic, gummy glue. Hand mashing or milling is the way to go here.
- I suggest that you make make your infused milk or half-and-half first, then let it steep for a while as the potatoes cook to extract maximum flavor. It will boil over, so make sure to keep an eye on your liquid. Bring it just to the barest boil, then turn off the burner and let it sit.
Did you make Mashed Potatoes Steeped With Garlic, Onion and Herbs? How were they?
Mashed Potatoes Steeped with Garlic, Onion and Herbs
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned
- ¼ yellow onion, peeled
- ½ cup half-and-half or whole milk
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 generous sprig fresh thyme
- 1 generous sprig fresh rosemary
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more to serve
- salt and pepper
- pinch grated nutmeg
- In a small sauce pot, bring the half-and-half or milk just to a boil with the butter, onion, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, stirring occasionally. As soon as it begins to boil, immediately remove the pot from the heat and let the liquid steep while you cook the potatoes. Make sure not to let the mixture boil over.
- Clean the potatoes. Cut off any blemishes or eyes, and peel if desired.
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of well-salted water until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot, letting the residual heat evaporate excess moisture.
- Strain most of the butter and milk through a sieve into the potatoes, discarding the onion, garlic, and herbs. Add some fresh black pepper. Mash and stir until fluffy and well mixed. I like to do this in the pot with the stove on low heat. Add the rest of the butter and milk as necessary.
- Taste for seasoning and texture, adding more salt or another splash of milk if necessary. Serve hot, with a pat of butter on top, and maybe a sprig of thyme and a few twists of black pepper.
Joy F. says
These tasted very good, but I think the aromatics seemed subtle. The potatoes did taste great, though! I definitely got the garlic and rosemary.
Delicious. Still tasted like classic mashed potatoes, but with a little more style and substance. Would. buttermilk work instead of cream?
Hi! That’s a great question because I love buttermilk mashed potatoes, too. So the short answer? No. When heated, the acid in the buttermilk causes it to separate and curdle, so you can’t get the good steep of the aromatics. Maybe try steeping the cream, then adding a splash of buttermilk directly into the potatoes.