My family honestly never put mashed potatoes on our Thanksgiving table, until they tasted mine. Now, it’s become a staple. These incredibly creamy garlic and leek creme fraiche mashed potatoes will hug your soul. They are luscious on the tongue, melt in your mouth, and flavored to the gods. Perfectly seasoned, and super easy to put together.
I love adding spice to just about any and every dish, but believe it or not, when it comes to mashed potatoes, I’m a purist. I simply believe that most of the flavor should come from natural aromatics and fresh herbs. You don’t need to add a bunch of different seasonings here, just salt and pepper will bring out the flavor of the slow butter-simmered garlic and leeks, and fresh herbs. Oh, and there’s lots of butter. Valley’s of butter. It’s the holidays, f*ck your diet.
It’s the holidays, go big or go home. We’re using a full cup of butter. You read that right, two whole sticks! An 8-ounce container of creme fraiche, and creamy half and half. Again, it’s the holidays…live a little. Creme fraiche is such a wonderful ingredient. It adds an ethereal tangy richness to these potatoes, making them extra luxurious. The way creme fraiche melts really tickles my fancy every time I see it. The stuff melts so fast and in the sexiest way imaginable. Literally on contact with your hot food. If you cannot find creme fraiche at your local grocery store, I guess you can use sour cream in a pinch.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Listen, ultimately they’re your potatoes. You can use any variety you want. I love yukon golds because they have very tender skins and we actually love eating them with the mashed potatoes. If you want to peel them, feel free! Definitely peel them if you decide to use russets. Red potatoes are another great option that don’t require peeling. Use whatever you want.
This is a big ass leek. I only used half for this recipe, but if you’re making a bigger batch of potatoes, use the whole thing.
Here’s where you chop your leek, in case you didn’t know.
Then you slice in half lengthwise, and rinse allll that nasty dirt and sand out. Leeks are notoriously dirty, so make sure you rinse them thoroughly!!
Chop one half of the leek into strips like this. Also, slice your garlic in half lengthwise just to open their cell walls.
Meanwhile, bring your potatoes to rolling boil. As soon as they reach this boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and let them cook uncovered.
Add some salt, about two tablespoons.
Stir to dissolve. Let the potatoes cook until fork tender, this will take about 25-30 minutes, depending.
While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter down in separate small pot.
Next, add in the leeks, garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Warning, this aroma is going to drive you crazy. It smells so good!!
About 20 minutes later, it’s lookin like this. A very soft simmer over low heat. Smelling SO good! Whew!
Pour in the half and half, and increase the heat just slightly to medium-low.
Simmer for an additional 5 minutes, stirring to combine.
Pull out the stems from the herbs, leaving behind as many leaves as you can.
Add the salt.
And the white pepper.
Turn off the heat and blend it all up! Use an immersion blender, or a regular blender. You want it smoooooth. Please be careful doing this part, it’s hot! Set aside while you drain the potatoes.
By now your potatoes should be very tender. I ended up cutting two of my potatoes in half earlier on because they were big AF, but I didn’t take pics of this step.
Can you easily pierce them with a skewer? Ready.
Pour about a cup of the garlic and leek mixture over the potatoes. Don’t pour all of it, you’ll add some little by little to achieve the consistency you want.
Mash mash mash.
Looks promising. But I need a little more garlic and leek magic.
So I added some, and kept mashing.
They’re almost there, so now’s the time to throw in the creme fraiche. It’ll melt immediately upon mashing.
Oh snap! We’re lit. They’re perfect. Now you gotta taste them, and add more salt and white pepper if necessary. Then, serve.
Pureeing the butter mixture is always a great and easy way to inject as much flavor as possible in your pot of creamy mashed potatoes. Get creative and toss in other great aromatics. The possibilities are endless, but the results will always be delicious.
Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water, enough to cover the potatoes by 3 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, uncover it and reduce the heat to medium-high. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the 14 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the leeks, garlic, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary. When the butter is fully melted, reduce the heat to low and allow the aromatics and fresh herbs to infuse the butter for the entire duration the potatoes are cooking, uncovered for about 20 minutes. The butter will simmer very softly, and that’s what you want.
After 20 minutes, pour in the half and half and increase the heat to medium-low. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
After 5 minutes, remove the thyme and rosemary stems, leaving as many leaves behind as you can. Add the sea salt and white pepper.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture using an immersion blender, or regular blender until smooth. Be careful doing this! This stuff is super hot, I don’t want you to splash and burn yourself.
Set the pureed mixture aside, and drain your fork tender potatoes. Return the potatoes back to the pot, and pour in about a cup of the pureed garlic and leek mixture. Mash the potatoes using a masher, adding a little more of the garlic and leek mixture as needed until you reach the consistency you desire. When it’s almost at the perfect consistency and smoothness, throw in the creme fraiche. Stir and mash that around, and if you still need to add some more of the garlic and leek mixture, do so.
When it’s perfect to your liking, season with additional salt and white pepper if needed. Garnish with thyme leaves and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Always start your potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil. Starting with cold water allows the potatoes to heat more evenly inside and out. If you start with hot water, they will cook unevenly and the texture will be off.
Use any potato variety you want, and peel them if you don’t like the skins.
I like white pepper here, but you can use black pepper.
If you cannot find creme fraiche, you can use sour cream or mascarpone instead. Also, feel free to add in your favorite cheese if you wish.
Keywords: mashed potatoes, garlic and leek butter, thanksgiving sides
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