Who's ready for Thanksgiving?? Woohoo! I am! I know, I know, it's still a few weeks away but if you're like me, you are probably thinking, at least with in some corner of your brain, "hmmm, what should I make this year?" Maybe it's not just a corner of your brain, maybe it's your whole brain, or maybe you're already waking up in a cold sweat because you agreed to host your entire extended family for dinner this year when you got cornered by your Aunt Mildred.
So, never fear! For the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes- some old, some new, some family favorites, all very fattening! I decided to start today with a recipe for mashed potatoes. These are dressed up Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with bacon and Gouda cheese and are oh-so-good yet very simple. The salty smoky flavor from the bacon is delicious with the mild creamy flavor of the Gouda and the green onions add a nice hint of flavor without being overpowering. The original recipe calls for either pancetta or center cut bacon. I decided to use bacon as I had that on hand and didn't feel like running back to the store for pancetta but I listed both on the ingredient list in case you'd like to use pancetta instead. The center cut bacon will be slightly smokier than the pancetta, but I thought it was delicious. If you've ever topped your baked potato with cheese and bacon, you know what a great combo that is!
The recipe says this makes 8-10 servings and I would just say that if you are truly planning a meal for 8-10 people for Thanksgiving, I would double this recipe. This dish makes 8-10 normal sized servings but if you are like most of us on Thanksgiving and want to go back for that 2nd helping or look forward to those leftovers late Thursday night, you may be out of luck. And, I warn you, these are really good, like eat them cold out of the fridge good, so if you didn't double the recipe, you may be sad or worse, upset that I didn't warn you to make more!
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Gouda and Bacon
1 pound red-skin potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 green onions
1 cup uncooked center cooked bacon, snipped into small pieces or 1 cup 1/4-inch cubes pancetta (about 5 ounces)
3/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whipping cream
2 cups finely shredded Gouda cheese (8 oz.)
1. In a Dutch oven, cook potatoes, covered in enough boiling lightly salted water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain. Return potatoes to Dutch oven.
2. Meanwhile, thinly slice green onions, keeping the white portions separate from the green tops. Set green tops aside. In a medium skillet, add bacon. After the bacon has begun to start crisping, add the white portions of the onions (if you add these too early they will burn). Continue cooking bacon and onions, until the bacon is crisp and the onions are softened. Drain off fat.
3. Add half-and-half to cooked potatoes. Mash with a potato masher, a ricer, or an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and the bacon mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer mashed potatoes to a serving dish. Sprinkle with green tops of onions and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
Serves 8 to 10 (If you are making this for Thanksgiving, and are serving 8-10, and want large portions or leftovers, I would double this recipe)
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens