Countdown to Thanksgiving: Smashed Potatoes and Gravy

Only on Thanksgiving do all the planets align to make this amazing pot o' taters.  I usually go through at least a gallon of chicken stock for this holiday, so I make it the week before, leaving me with some excess parsnips, one of two my two secret stock ingredients.  (The other one's dried mushrooms, in case you were wondering.)  It's also one of the few times a year I'll splurge on fresh herbs at the grocery store if my potted ones aren't producing.  Finally, there's a bird camped out in my oven for a couple hours, giving me the perfect opportunity to toss a couple of bulbs of garlic in to roast, too.

Thanksgiving Mashers & Gravy
(Click here for printable version.)

Smashed Potatoes:
5 lbs Idaho or other mashing potatoes
1/2 lb parsnips
1 tsp salt
1/4 C nondairy margarine
2 C chicken stock
1 bulb roasted garlic
several handfuls fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, etc.), finely chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

To prepare roasted garlic, early on Thanksgiving day take a bulb, and slice off top so that the inside of all the cloves are visible. Place the bulb cut side up on a square of aluminum foil big enough to wrap around the bulb with plenty of room to spare.  If feeling fancy, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and or/fresh rosemary.  (Don't worry though, the garlic will still be ridiculously good even if roasted naked.)  Bring the foil up around the bulb while keeping it upright and twist the top closed.  When placing turkey in the oven, place foil wrapped garlic cut side up on the side of the rack.  Allow it to remain in the oven for 45 minutes, then carefully remove with oven mitts or a pair of tongs.  Allow aluminum foil to cool before unwrapping and setting aside until ready to make mashed potatoes.

Peel potatoes and parsnips and cut into chunks.  Place in a large pot, cover with cool water and add salt.  (This can be done earlier in the day, then set aside until ready to cook.)  About 45 minutes to an hour before the bird hits the table, bring the pot of potatoes and parsnips to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.  While they cook, combine stock and margarine in either a small pot or microwave safe bowl, then squeeze all the garlic cloves into the same vessel.  Heat on stove or in microwave until margarine has completely melted and the mixture is just starting to bubble.  Use a stick (immersion) blender to mix until smooth.  Set aside.

When the potatoes and parsnips have finished cooking, drain the potatoes, then return to the pan, but do not put back on the burner.  If stock mixture has cooled down, reheat, then add to it and the chopped herbs to the potatoes.  Use a potato masher to combine until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Thanksgiving Gravy:
1/2 C drippings from the turkey
2 Tbs nondairy margarine
3 Tbs flour
4 C hot chicken stock
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (optional)

I don't bother deglazing or defatting the drippings, I just pour off half a cup (minus chunks) and combine it in a saucepan or large skillet with the margarine and flour.  Stir or whisk over medium heat until completely combined, and continue stirring until it just begins to bubble.  Gradually add stock while continuing to stir until gravy is nice and smooth.  The drippings will give the gravy plenty of flavor, but season with salt and pepper if desired.

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.


Anonymous said...

This looks great! This is our first real allergy friendly Thanksgiving. Since our son will now want to eat everything. What kind of stock do you use? Or do you make your own?

Joy said...

This recipe for smashed potatoes sounds delightful!
Since I will be cooking at not-my-house this year, do you think fake broth (boullion and water)will work just as well as genuine chicken stock?

Paula said...

I love garlic mashed (smashed) potatoes and I love gravy. Your photo is wishing I had a plateful right now :)

I always make my own gravy, be it turkey, chicken or beef and I always add the water from all of my boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc.) to my stock and drippings before I thicken it. It just adds a wonderful flavour everytime/

Paula said...

The above comment should have read *Your photo is making me wish I had a plateful right now.*

Sorry about that :)