Author Notes: This recipe is from my late mother-in-law Monica. I’ve never had mashed potatoes that even come close to how delicious these are. With both cream cheese and sour cream, they’re the perfect balance of creamy and tangy, with the chives at the end tempering the richness.
Monica was a great cook without realizing she was one. She had a handful of dishes that she proudly served at holidays, family gatherings and bridge parties, and this dish were one of them. My husband and his two sisters requested these potatoes for every birthday dinner (with a big grilled steak, being the born-and-bred Nebraskans they are), and the first time I tasted them, I completely understood why.
Here are a few important tips that I picked up from Monica during the countless times I watched her make them. (1) Generously salt your cooking water. Yes, you can and should add salt to taste at the end, but you need to season the potatoes well while they’re cooking. (2) Put away your fancy potato ricer or food mill when making these. Use your trusty hand mixer, or if you must, your standing one. (3) Keep tasting and seasoning as you go -- and keep tinkering ‘til you get it right. (4) Don’t even think about leaving the chives out. The chives are so important that on several Thanksgivings, my husband and I have gone on a wild goose chase trying to hunt them down.
When I asked my husband if I could share his mom’s recipe, his response was, “Is the world ready for that much sour cream and cream cheese in the same bowl?” I suspect the answer to that question is Yes.
- 5 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (Monica always used red potatoes, but yukon gold also work)
- 8 oz cream cheese, cut into large pieces (at room temperature)
- 1 cup sour cream (at room temperature)
- 4 T butter (at room temperature)
- kosher salt + freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, and either return to the same pan, or place in a large bowl for combining with other ingredients.
- While potatoes are still hot, start mixing in the remaining ingredients using a hand mixer with beater attachments. Add the cream cheese first (a few pieces at a time) and mix until thoroughly combined. It's important to start with the cream cheese because it's the ingredient that benefits the most from the hot potatoes when mixing. Next, add the sour cream, then the butter, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Continue mixing until the potatoes are smooth, creamy, and lump-free. You may want to stop a few times and clean the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl with a spatula. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- A few notes: I like to add the cream cheese, sour cream, and butter at room temperature to make the mixing easier, but Monica always used them straight from the fridge. If you want, you can start with lesser (say 3/4) amounts of the cream cheese, sour cream and butter and then tinker with the quantities to taste at the end, but 9 out of 10 times I've done this, I've ended up adding the full amounts. Trust me, these potatoes are worth the indulgence.
- Mix in chives. Serve and savor every bite.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Root Vegetable Side