Thanksgiving is upon us and with it, the pressure to whip up countless dishes to feed family and friends. Each year we all have our go-to recipes that we recreate, dishes that must make an appearance at our holiday table. Often, we have plenty of recipes rooted in history, and memory—recipes passed down through generations. I love recipes like these.
That perfectly crisp and golden turkey that your father used to make. Your grandmother’s creamy sweet potatoes with the mini marshmallows and candied pecans. In my family’s case my grandmother’s infamous flavorful naca tamales (a Nicaraguan staple). Some dishes are better left unaltered, unmarred by experimentation. Even I—someone whose blog is replete with recipes that blur the lines of tradition (or outright ignore them)—can agree with this.
There are, however other times where you find yourself longing for something different and a bit unexpected. Maybe you’re bored and want to mix it up. Maybe you wanted to offer two versions to your guests—a tribute to old and new flavors. Whatever the case I think it is always nice to include one or two dishes that are new to the Thanksgiving or holiday table. Besides, dabbling with reinvention is a good way to inspire creativity.
So this holiday season I wanted to be sure to include a few of those dishes on the blog. The first of these being these Kalamata and Muenster mashed potatoes. If you have the perfect mashed potato recipe in your repertoire already, wonderful! Make this one as well as a fun alternative. If you don’t have the perfect potato dish—well here’s one to try out!
I mashed Yukon gold potatoes with two bulbs of roasted garlic, butter, milk, lemon, muenster, fresh parsley, and Kalamata olives. If you’re not a fan of olives, definitely skip adding them to this dish. Kalamatas have a strong briny flavor that Simon and I love, but it’s a distinct flavor. If anyone is wondering why I didn’t use a cheese like feta in a dish complimented by Greek flavors it boils down to two things. One, Simon won’t eat it. Two, I thought it could be overwhelming mixed into the mashed potatoes in addition to the olives. Perhaps a sprinkling on top could have worked. Although I love salt…so maybe next time.
What are some of your go-to holiday dishes? What are some untraditional meals you like to bring to the table? Leave a comment below!
- 5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 bulbs roasted garlic
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup milk
- Zest from one lemon
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 5.5 oz Kalamata olives
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 2 cups grated muenster
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F.
- Trim the head off of a bulb of garlic, so that the cloves are exposed.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the exposed garlic cloves.
- Wrap garlic in foil, place in a small baking dish, and bake for about 45 minutes.
- The exact time will depend on the size of the bulb. You are looking for soft cloves with a light to medium, golden brown coloring.
- Let cool before removing cloves form the skin.
- Meanwhile peel and halve or quarter potatoes so they are roughly the same size.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until they easily slide off a knife.
- Drain potatoes and return to pot.
- In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic cloves over medium heat.
- When butter has melted, turn off the heat.
- Mash potatoes or put them through a potato ricer.
- Drain Kalamata olives and rinse with water. Give them a rough chop and set aside ½ cup for mashed potato topping.
- Add milk mixture, cheese, olives, lemon juice, and parsley to the potatoes.
- Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
- Top potatoes with remaining olives, more parsley and a drizzle of olive oil if desired!