Turkey Day Prep: Smashed Potatoes

I believe in my previous post, I referred to these as mashed potatoes. Its a slight difference to me but technically, the recipe is titled Smashed Potatoes.

From Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Issue no. 71, December 2004:

Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

2 pounds Red Bliss, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 bay leaf
3 medium garlic cloves, 1 minced, 2 whole
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 oz) at room temperature
salt and pepper


  • In large saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 inch cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 whole garlic cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer gently about 35-45 minutes. They are ready when you can slip a knife tip all the way in with no resistance.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Add rosemary and 1 minced garlic clove. Cook about 30 seconds, just until fragrant then set aside.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and garlic cloves then drain potatoes. Discard bay leaf. Return potatoes to pot and allow to dry, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk butter/garlic mixture, whole garlic cloves and soft cream cheese in a medium bowl until fully incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • With a spatula or wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break up skins.
  • Fold in butter/cream cheese until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain.
  • Add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time until potatoes are slightly looser than desired.

Potatoes will thicken slightly as they stand. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6, doubles easily. When doubling recipes, only multiply salt by 1.5. You can always add more at the table. More potatoes will require more cooking time, 4 pounds will probably take 45-50 minutes.

Try to get potatoes of all the same size, around 2 inches in diameter. Bigger potatoes take longer to cook.

You can use white-skinned potatoes but they won’t be as pretty. I’d avoid russets as they have a distinctly different texture and don’t hold up the same under smashing conditions.

These potatoes were meant to hold their own when gravy wasn’t available. We will have gravy on Thanksgiving but that just makes them even better.

FYI, Cook’s Illustrated has a very nice site, but its not free.

Summertime Tomato-Potato Saute

After harvesting a few of our cherry tomatoes, I decided to incorporate them in to tonight’s dinner.

Yesterday, on our way back from a weekend camping trip, we stopped in Grand Rapids to visit The Fresh Market.  This place has a really great meat market and a nice selection of organic produce along with a good size wine area, a bakery and a deli stocked with ready-to-eat items.  Besides picking up some Paninis for lunch, we stocked up on meat and fish for this week.  Since fish doesn’t last long, I knew I’d be making the Parmesan-crusted Tilapia tonight.  While waiting for our paninis to grill, I noticed a little bag of baby red skin potatoes all by itself at the back of a display.  The bag was filled with organic reds, most not much bigger than a golf ball.  I knew I had to have this bag and I knocked over a bunch of Yukons in the process of reaching it but soon it was tucked safely in my cart.

While thinking about dinner this afternoon, I had a thought that I’d use the potates as a side dish- maybe just boil them and top them with a nice mustard sauce.  I was planning to use some green beans too and they could share the sauce.  Unfortunately, the green  beans were looking a little peaked when I pulled them from the crisper so that idea was tossed.  Then my eyes wandered to the balcony and our pot full of little red drops.  And this is what I came up with.

For the fish, I followed the directions- saute 3 minutes per side then finish in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Tomato-Potato Saute


Cherry Tomatoes; about a dozen, cut three-fourths in half and separate from the whole ones.
Baby red skin potatoes; 3-5 per person depending on size
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste
3-4 sprigs Rosemary, stripped from stems and roughly chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
Olive oil/butter
Chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper


Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool (so you can touch them).  Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Add garlic and 1/2 the rosemary, saute 30 seconds until fragrant then add sliced onion.

While onion is cooking, slice the potatoes in to 1/4 inch rounds and sprinkle with salt.  When the onions are quite soft but not browned, add the potatoes and halved cherry tomatoes.  Continue to cook until the tomatoes are softened and the potatoes begin to turn golden on the edges.  Push contents of the pan to the side and add just enough stock (about 1/8 cup for me) to deglaze the pan and mix it all together.  Garnish with whole tomatoes and additional rosemary plus fresh ground pepper.

The picture isn’t as pretty as it could be since I’d already started eating it.  I recall that someone was asking for photos….