Snowy Potatoes

No plows needed to get through these snowy potatoes!

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!

Snowy Potatoes
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!

A heapin’ helpin’ of some hospitality!


60 thoughts on “Snowy Potatoes

  1. I am very sorry for your loss and I hope the rest of this year brings you better things. I know some years are just trying at best. On a positive note, these snowy potatoes look like a comfort blanket of deliciousness. I am sure it would be a beautiful and delicious accompaniment to any turkey. Take care of yourself! BAM


    • Thank you, BAM. She was a loss for so many people and loved by so many, but left a legacy of a great lust for life, people, horses and dogs. These potatoes are a “blanket of deliciousness” and what a perfect way to describe them! 🙂


  2. Betsy, Doodle will certainly be missed by many people. She loved us, too, and when we went for dinner she served the most delicious Shrimp Scampi we’ve ever eaten! Thankfully that delightful event occurred more than once! Sorry I didn’t get to see you last week-end but glad Jim ran into you all at the Friends Bookstore. Happy Thanksgiving!


    • She certainly will be missed by countless people, Barbara. I wish I’d seen more of her in recent years. Shrimp Scampi! How delicious! It was great to see Jim at the Friends Bookstore…he looks great, and I’m sorry we missed you, too! We plan to come back for Thanksgiving…bringing our crazy cats in tow, and will most likely be there for Christmas this year, too, so perhaps we’ll get to see you during the holidays! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!


  3. Of course we are glad to have you back, but sorry to hear that you were away for such a sad reason. I hope you turn a corner and next year improves.Your snowy potatoes would be a perfect side for any Thanksgiving Dinner — but hopefully they are the only snow that comes your way! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family.


    • Barb, thank you very much for your kind words and wishes. Yes, this year has included dealing with defeating a life threatening illness for someone very close and dear to me, the loss of friends both old and too young, and a dear young pet. Still, there is always much to be grateful for and blessings to count. Here’s hoping this holiday will mark an upswing on every front!


  4. Sorry, Betsy, to read of your loss and hope the year ends on a much higher note for you.
    Now, whatever do you mean that we’re tired of your Spooktacular Chili I love that chili and have a couple quarts stashed away in my freezer, waiting for lunch after that first snowy morning spent manning the snowblower. Mmmmmm
    These potatoes are lookin’ good, too. I’m glad the recipe makes a large quantity. i can see my dinner guests returning to them for seconds and thirds. That is, if I let them. im going to want leftovers! 🙂


    • Thank you so much, John, ending on a higher note would be fantastic, and I’m holding that thought! Well, I know I’m not tired of the chili, and in fact am making some for guests this weekend, hopefully with some leftover to freeze. I’m so happy you like it as much as we do! 😉 As to these potatoes, they do tend to say come hither for seconds, so it’s good to have a crowd on hand so you won’t eat them all yourself! 🙂


    • Thank you, Mandy. Yes, I was thinking when you said that on your post that the end of this year would not make me sad! And how can one go wrong with a potato? You’d have to work very hard at that and one that has butter and sour cream plus parmesan will work for me every time! 🙂


    • Interestingly, these don’t taste that rich because the amount of butter, sour cream and cheese ratio to the potatoes in my version is pretty small. Still, they aren’t low calorie or low fat, and hence should be made not only for a crowd, but for a special occasion, I think! 😉


  5. So sorry about the funeral Betsy! I know what you mean… sometimes life just happens and we have to juggle. I too have been overwhelmed with things in life and haven’t posted for over a week. I’m tired of looking at my current post! LOL! Love these snowy potatoes! My client would absolutely go nuts for these. I’m supposed to make him mashers for Thanksgiving but I think I’ll make him these instead. Have a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!


    • Hi Karista, and thanks so much for your kind words. These potatoes are so easy and so good…and adaptable, too, so I hope you do try them. I’m making your sweet potato spoon bread for Thanksgiving at my mom’s…it sounds so delicious. You and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving, too!


  6. I love the name of this dish – I’m thinking straight away of snow capped peaks!
    and what a simple but tasty way to prepare potatoes, in fact you’ve got me wanting these !! I’ll have to see if I can make them, or something similar this weekend, just nee dto think o fthe protein element of the meal and I’ll be away with my fork !


    • Hi Claire and I’m so glad you like these potatoes! They are great with beef, pork, chicken (even fried) and fish, so you can’t go wrong with your protein! I’ve also added squash, a bit more sour cream and cheddar cheese to this base in the past and made a vegetarian main. Have a great weekend!


  7. “If you happen to have any leftover potatoes” – ha, yeah right – like that’s going to happen :p

    Looks wonderful Betsy – potatoes, cheese, butter… come on, it’s the perfect dish. The only thing I’d add is chopped spring onion / scallion because I love the flavour combo, but aside from that… anyone making these for me would go straight into number 1 in my “person of the week” chart. 😀


    • Thanks Charles! I can’t agree with you more…how can one have leftover potatoes? But just in case…. 🙂 Like you, I like a little onion flavor with these which is why they have the chives over the top. I didn’t mix them in because then they wouldn’t be “snowy” but I do like the hit of onion a lot. This is much like a big baked potato with sour cream, butter, chives and parmesan! Wish I could send you some!


  8. So sorry for your loss. I’m sending positive thoughts to you and hope this year of minuses will explode into a year of only pluses!
    It makes me wonder what the unhealthy version looked like! This is definitely an elastic waistband dish Betsy.


    • Thanks, Eva, appreciate your thoughts! Yes, the “slightly healthier” version of these is kind of a joke because they only have a bit less of the good things like sour cream, butter and cheese…plus substituting parmesan grated for cheddar shredded. Still, not something one should eat to often, but something to enjoy for a special occasion for sure! 😉


  9. Pingback: Easy, “Perfect” Mashed Potatoes « Putney Farm

    • Hi Lorraine, and you’re right, pure comfort. These are definitely geared towards a crowd and I almost didn’t have a pan large enough to accommodate them! 😉 Also a dreaded night photo, but thanks, I’m glad you like them. Wish you could stay for the Thanksgiving extravaganza here, too. I have a friend (from the states) living in Italy who makes the American Thanksgiving meal for her friends every year.


  10. I too am glad the year is coming to an end, there should be less hiccups next year for you and I. Like your healthy version better though I would like a bite of the original version just for comparison.


    • Oh Norma, I’m sorry your year has been filled with hiccups, too. Let’s toast to next year being a better one for us both! The original version of these potatoes is more gooey and also very good, and I’ve added yellow squash to that mix as well….how can you go wrong with cheese, sour cream, butter, chives and potatoes anyway? 🙂


  11. So sorry you’ve had a rough year this year. Let’s hope it’s all about to turn around for you 🙂 Potato is definite comfort food…and I think I would prefer potato to chocolate if I had to choose 😉 Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family xx


  12. Pingback: Stuffed Red Potatoes | Stubborn's Place

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