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There are, of course, and infinite number of ways to make mashed potatoes. But, there are rules.

Rule One: use a hand masher and NEVER use a stand mixer. There is, it turns out, a distinct difference between mashed potatoes and wallpaper paste.

Rule Two: be creative.

Rule Three: just, just for one night, forget the stuff about eating healthy.

Rule Three gets you versions, like the French ones from Robuchon or Wells, where you have some potatoes along with your mashed butter. Rich beyond experience, decadent to the last atom.

Butter is, of course, essential to mashed potatoes. Sometimes to achieve great mashed potato complexity, we use the best in butter plus some other dairy: blue cheese, crème fraiche, …

And sometimes, you can be creative following Rule Two by amending the butter itself. I made this butter for Thanksgiving, planning to serve it with biscuits.

“Are you crazy?” Suzen licked her finger. “Put this in the mashed potatoes.” She pointed to the steaming bowl of cooked potatoes ready for me to mash — she always does the stuffing, I do the potatoes, I hover and worry while she always succeeds with the gravy.

“Duh,” I said.

I, I had just not thought about using bourbon and garlic and honey flavored butter for the mashed potatoes.

The result? There were six of us for dinner. When the meal was done, we had turkey leftovers. Cranberry leftovers. Stuffing leftovers. The mashed potatoes, with the bourbon butter, were gone. Simply and completely and I must say enthusiastically gone.

Yes, I did put gravy on them. They didn’t need it, but habits are habits. Make this butter, enjoy it on a biscuit with strawberry jam if you want but by all means, mash your potatoes by hand with this complex butter.

Roasted Garlic and Bourbon Butter

Yield: 1 thick stick


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic puree
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Source: Recipes from Home by Barbara Shinn and David Page

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for1/60th second at ISO 500