Food Friday: Roasted garlic mashed potatoes for a crowd

I made a big batch of these mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and was really pleased at how they turned out. The basic recipe has been in my family for a while, but roasting fresh garlic instead of using garlic powder is my addition. Thanks to the sour cream, cream cheese and butter, this actually keeps and freezes quite well. Because of that, I tend to make a bunch at once and throw some of it straight in the freezer before baking. After all, once you start peeling potatoes, you might as well peel 10 pounds, right? (Kinda true, actually.) I would recommend this for Christmas festivities as well.

You can always split the recipe in half and start with only 5 pounds of potatoes, which results in about a 3-4 quart baking dish worth. The full 10 pounds will result in an 8×10 baking dish full plus a 2-3 quart dish. The garlic needs to be roasted a bit ahead of time so you don’t burn your fingers getting the roasted cloves out of the skin – if you think of it, do it the day ahead and just toss the whole foil package in the fridge until you need it.

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

2 large heads garlic
10 pounds russet potatoes
1 8 oz package cream cheese*, cut into pieces
1 16 oz package sour cream*
2 sticks butter*, each cut into pieces
salt and pepper to taste (I usually end up using about a teaspoon per half-batch of each)

Preheat the oven to 250-300 F, and cut the very top off the heads of garlic. Put on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil up into a package and bake 1-2 hours until the garlic is roasted (you can smell it when it’s done). If you’re making the potatoes right away, throw the bundle in the freezer for a few minutes so you can handle it.

Wash, peel and roughly chop the potatoes. Put them in a pot with cold water and bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are starting to fall apart. Drain and then put half of the potatoes in a mixer bowl. Add half the butter, cream cheese and sour cream, mixing on low to combine. Add the one of the heads of garlic by squeezing out the cloves from the papery shell. Mix thoroughly and add seasoning. Repeat with the second half of potatoes. Put in a sprayed glass or ceramic baking dish – if you’re going to freeze them for later wrap in foil and stop here – or bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

*I usually hate those recipes that say “Don’t use the low-fat version” but it’s kinda true in this case – low-fat cream cheese and sour cream have more water and it makes the potatoes runnier. Also, you could kick the butter down to 1 stick but really, if you’re making this for a special occasion, does one stick of butter make a difference?

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