Mashed Red Potatoes with Crème Fraîche
Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but I have to admit my favorite of all are the sides and dessert. The skies the limit when it comes to preparing and creating side dishes. Plus, if you stroll over to Pinterest there’s a world of photos out there to pick and choose what looks best to you. Click on the photo and find the recipe.
However, I didn’t do that here. I’ve been making my Sweet Potato Casserole to serve on Thanksgiving Day for as long as I can remember, because that’s what everyone loves. It’s hard to break habits and I’m hoping I won’t get a lashing for making the change. I’m just tired of sweet potatoes even though I love them. I enjoy coming up with new recipes and testing them out. I mentioned this to my daughter and she said, “Ooh can you try to recreate the mashers from The Cheesecake Factory?”
I looked online, but all I saw were mashers with Gouda and garlic – the potatoes she loved were simple, I know, I’ve taken many forkfuls from her plate before. They are delicious! So I looked at the menu and it said red potatoes with butter and cream. How simple is that?
I purchased some small red potatoes to test. They turned out so creamy and delicious! Of course I did make one minor change that has a huge impact on flavor – I added Crème Fraîche in place of cream, for that extra rich, creamy goodness.
Crème fraîche is pronounced “krem fresh.” It is a thick and smooth heavy cream with a wonderful rich and velvety texture. Crème fraîche is widely used in France, where the cream is unpasteurized and contains the “friendly” bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally.
Since Crème fraîche doesn’t curdle when boiled, it’s the ideal thickener for many sauces and soups. Vegetables (especially potatoes) benefit with a dollop of it. It’s also delicious on fresh fruit, cakes, cobblers, and puddings. Crème fraîche can be pricey, so if you prefer you can make a homemade version, it’s really simple.
Homemade Crème Fraîche
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
- Combine buttermilk and heavy cream in a non-reactive container. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until thickened to desired texture, about 12 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
When testing this mashed potato recipe I purchase a tub of Crème Fraîche at Whole Foods. It was on sale for $2.99 but typically sells for $4.99. It’s so good, I could eat it with a spoon.
My family gave this recipe a thumbs up, and although I typically prefer going with the Yukon Gold potatoes these were fantastic. Give it a rough mash so you still have some chunks and it’s outstanding. Of course if you prefer a smooth potato, peel the skin before boiling, then mash well or put through a ricer.
Below is the recipe I’ll be making for Thanksgiving. As for the amounts of potatoes to serve per person – when using large potatoes I go with 1 per person. If I want leftovers I’ll figure 1 1/2 per person. For the small potatoes I’m going to figure 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person. If I have leftovers I can make potato pancakes, because after all, with all the sides served, my guests may not finish them all. So you be the judge. If you want leftovers go 1 pound or more per person.
I’ve posted the recipe below and in addition to the Mashed Red Potatoes with Crème Fraîche I’ve included a few other dishes from past posts you may want to add to your Thanksgiving feast, such as Mashed Cauliflower a healthier version of Mashed Potatoes. If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink that’s tasty try this Cranberry Tea.
Feel free to scroll my other Thanksgiving dishes. Although I’m certain I have more than what’s listed, but since I changed my site in May, I’m still finding a few errors. Eventually everything will be in its place.
Now for my Mashed Red Potatoes with Crème Fraîche.
Mashed Red Potatoes with Crème Fraîche
- 3 pounds Red Potatoes (small round)
- 8 oz. container Crème Fraîche
- 6 Tbsp. butter, unsalted and melted
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Clean any blemishes from the potatoes and slice in 1/2 or if larger in quarters.
- Place in a large stock pot, cover with cold water, and sprinkle with a handful of salt.
- Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the tip of a knife can be inserted easily into the potatoes.
- Drain potatoes and return to pot. With heat on, cook for a 1-2 minutes until the potatoes start to stick to the pan - not burn. You're simply extracting residual moisture from the potatoes. Turn off heat.
- Add about 6 heaping tablespoons of the Crème Fraîche and 6 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter and with a potato masher, mash away. I like mine a little chunky but mash however you like. If you prefer it creamier, add more of each until it suits your taste.
- Add kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve.
Note: You can prepare these ahead of time and place them into a Crock Pot on the lowest heat setting. Place a clean towel over the top of the Crock Pot, and close the lid. This keeps condensation from falling back onto the mashed potatoes.