You can't have a Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes, and everyone seems to have their own opinion as to the perfect way to prepare them. Some people like them smooth and creamy, some like them rustic and chunky with skin still on, some like them loaded with butter, bacon, cheese or gravy, and some (in my opinion) crazy people like them healthy and plain. My family always makes them a little lumpy because that's how my Great-Grandma made them and what my Poppa grew up with. We still honor their tradition, even though I think it stemmed from my Great-Grandma just not being that great of a cook! I'm not here to tell you how to make your traditional mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but I am here to give you a simple way to add a little kick to any mashed tater recipe with one quick and easy step - infusing the milk!
After reading how easy it is to infuse milk with flavors in Bon Appetit this summer, I haven't stopped thinking about all the fall recipes I could make with infused milk. In the article, chef Greg Marchand explains that "fat carries flavor incredibly well, so infusing milk and cream with aromatic ingredients brings new flavors" to any dish. I thought mashed potatoes would be the perfect dish to try out this trick, and what better season to try it out than holiday season when you want your mashed potatoes to be a little more special than the weeknight version everyone is used to.
My mind spun with infusion possibilities - sage, garlic, chives, lemon, nutmeg...but I finally settled on rosemary, because I've never had rosemary mashed potatoes before and it seemed like it would elevate the dish, yet remain accessible to a holiday crowd. Feel free to experiment and substitute the rosemary with any herb, flower, citrus peel or spice in the instructions below and let us know how it turns out!
The rosemary taste was subtle and not overpowering, but you could definitely taste the herb in each bite. It didn't change the dish so drastically that it would bother any traditionalist out there, but it also didn't taste so subtle that it wasn't worth the extra step! I want to try a garlic/rosemary combo next or a flavored whipped cream!
Rosemary Infused Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
- Heat milk or cream in a pot until it’s hot but not simmering. Too hot and you’ll ruin the flavor of the milk
- Add rosemary to the pot, remove from heat, and cover with a lid to keep warm.
- Let sit for about 20 minutes, tasting mixture until flavored to your liking. Strain, chill, and proceed with your tried and true mashed potatoe recipe. If the flavor isn't as strong as you like, you can re-heat the milk and infuse it again. According to kitchn.com, as long as you don't scorch the milk, it can be reheated a few times before it starts getting a cooked flavor.
(all photos, Jamie Grill Photography)