Tired of looking at the Spooktacular beef and sausage chili recipe yet?
Even though it’s a magnificent chili recipe if I do say so myself, I imagine you are actually ready for something new, and I do apologize yet again for a delay in my regular posting, as well as my ability to catch up with my fellow bloggers. It seems this year has been full of hiccups, several big ones and a few small ones as well…some years are just like that, I guess. Last week I had a recipe all lined up, and before I could finish the post I had to leave town for a few days, sadly to attend a funeral. I think this is one year that I’ll be very ready to ring out at the end of December.
But let’s get on to the matter at hand, some good food! As those of us here in the U.S. know full well, we’re zooming towards another holiday…the biggest of the big food days around these parts, Thanksgiving! We all have our food traditions for Thanksgiving, with many decisions to make each year such as: Will it be turkey or ham? Cornbread stuffing or bread dressing? Pecan pie or pumpkin pie, that is the question…or is it? And let’s not forget the potatoes! Sweet or plain, our year-round favorite tubers are a must-have.
Last week, I was reminded of a dish I had in childhood, so simple and so very delicious. And best of all it involves potatoes, because what better all purpose comfort food is there? Okay, maybe chocolate, but the potato is right up there in my book. The dish I remembered happened to be one that a dear, and now departed lady used to make to feed the masses of children she loved and taught how to horseback ride, and it was called Snowy Potatoes.
I think I was about 9 years old the first time I had this dish which I believe was made with instant mashed potatoes, adding lots of butter, sour cream, chives and some other magical ingredients. The mixture was poured into a casserole dish, and baked in the oven until it became a puffy, beautiful white mound of potatoes, glistening under a layer of cheese. Those hot, gooey potatoes were a big hit with all the kids, as well as the many family members and friends who were always on hand at her house. And there seemed to be an endless supply of these filling and comforting spuds, made and delivered with a good dose of love.
Of course at that tender age, I didn’t care too much about learning how to cook things—even easy things like Snowy Potatoes—so when I decided to recreate these last week, I was going from fragments of a fond memory. But my result was just the same. Warm, comforting and creamy potatoes, made with a dash of love. I think she would approve of my version, and I think you will, too! These would be perfect as a side dish for any occasion, and an especially wonderful, easy addition to a Thanksgiving table.
Note: The original Snowy Potatoes probably had more sour cream than suggested below, the chives incorporated into the potatoes and some cheddar cheese grated on top. For my only slightly healthier version, I used whole potatoes instead of instant, and parmesan for my cheese to keep it looking snowy. This “recipe” is definitely one you can make your own and I encourage you to experiment based on your family likes and dislikes!
Makes 10-12 servings
6 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup half and half, plus more if needed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup) melted
1 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraiche, or a mixture of the two
2 cups freshly grated parmesan, plus about 1/4 cup for topping
More Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 heaping Tablespoons fresh snipped chives
Butter a large casserole dish, about 13 x 3 x 10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the potatoes and cook them until they are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the pot. Mash them well with a potato masher, and then mix in the melted butter, the half and half, sour cream or crème fraiche (or a mixture of the two) and the 2 cups of parmesan cheese. The mixture should be that of creamy mashed potatoes, but not runny, so add a tiny bit more half and half if needed to thin the mixture. Add kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of parmesan evenly over the top, and bake in the preheated oven uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the mixture has heated through and puffed up slightly. Remove from the oven and allow the potatoes to sit for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the snipped chives and serve.
If you happen to have any leftover potatoes you can chill them and reheat the next day in the microwave. Or even better, you can make little potato cakes out of the chilled potatoes, roll them in panko seasoned with more chives (or not) and fry them for another repurposed tasty tater side dish!