If I think back to my earliest memories of mashed potatoes there are two distinct ones I can vividly remember. The first one, comes from Thanksgiving. My mom would make an indentation into the mound of mashed potatoes using the back of a spoon and then I would drown the potatoes in velvety brown gravy ensuring I captured an ample amount of gravy in every bite. I loved mashed potatoes and gravy more than anything on my Thanksgiving plate and I always had seconds.
The second one, comes from Swanson’s Fried Chicken TV dinners, which I ate occasionally as child growing up in the 80’s. My mom always made everything from scratch so on the occasions when I got to eat TV dinners (usually when my parents were out for the evening and someone was babysitting Sis and I), it was such a novelty and I loved them. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this article on Epicurious about the brownie that came with said TV dinner. The article describes the dinner in fascinatingly accurate detail that I didn’t remember until I read it. The description perfectly captures the amazingness that was the Swanson Fried Chicken TV dinner. I could finish off the entire tray.
Thirty-some years later, I have a very different definition of what makes a mashed potato memorable and it does not involve drowning it in gravy or pulling plastic off a tiny compartment of instant mashed potatoes previously frozen. I believe a good mashed potato should stand alone sans gravy. The only time I want gravy on my mashed potatoes these days is when I have plain mashed potatoes and the only time I have plain mashed potatoes these days is on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Mashed potatoes are an ultimate comfort food. For me they remind me of my childhood. My grandparents. Thanksgiving. My mom. And Swanson TV Dinners, obviously. So it was an obvious choice to make mashed potatoes with the copious amounts of dill from my garden. I found a simple mash recipe at allrecipes.com using dill and goat cheese. Since I’m not at all a fan of goat cheese, I opted to sub it for anything else I happened to have in my fridge. Extra sharp white cheddar seemed as good an option as any.
This mash does not need to be drowning in turkey gravy to leave an indelible mark on your taste buds but you will want to serve it with plenty of butter, salt and pepper. If you’re not big on dill, know that the dill flavor is mild the first day. Your leftovers will be more pungent.
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ c. butter
- 8 oz shredded very sharp white cheddar cheese
- 3 T. chopped fresh dill
- 3 T. chopped fresh chives
- ¾ c. milk
- kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- Butter pats for serving
- Place the potatoes into a large pot and fill with enough lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put milk and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat. Drain and mash partially, then add the butter and milk. Continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the cheese, chives and dill.