Recipe Review

I Tried Julia Child’s 30-Clove Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and They’re Every Bit as Good as They Sound

published Jan 30, 2021
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Credit: Nicole Rufus

There are 30 cloves of garlic in Julia Child’s garlic mashed potatoes recipe. Yes, you read that right! Now, I’m someone who thinks the more garlic the better, but even I was shocked to see this — I don’t think I’ve ever used even half that amount at one time. Considering this was a whole new level of garlicky goodness for me, I had to try them out.

How to Make Julia Child’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You’ll start by blanching all 30 cloves (skin on) in boiling water for about 2 minutes, which helps get rid of any bitterness. Remove them from the water, drain, and peel. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes — both the garlic and butter will brown significantly.

Next, make the béchamel sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Slowly pour in milk and cook until the sauce is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the sauce and garlic cloves to a blender and purée until smooth.

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 15 minutes until they’re tender, then drain. Pass through a ricer and return to the pot. Add more butter, heavy cream, the garlic béchamel sauce, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

My Honest Review of Julia Child’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes

As it turns out, 30 cloves of garlic is exactly the right amount for these potatoes. Blanching them first prevents any harsh bitter garlic flavors from entering the dish, and blending them into a creamy béchamel sauce is honestly ingenious. I’m already thinking of ways I can use the béchamel in dishes beyond these mashed potatoes (mac and cheese, anyone?). It’s just so luxurious — and perfect for garlic-lovers like me.

These mashed potatoes take longer to cook than your standard recipe, but the extra effort is totally worth it — and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even like mashed potatoes all that much. Allowing the garlic to cook down with the butter brings out its natural sweetness, and the browned butter gives the béchamel a wonderfully nutty flavor. I also felt like the potatoes had just the right amount of butter and heavy cream to make them smooth but not too heavy, and the parsley is the perfect finishing touch.

If You’re Making Julia Child’s Garlic Potatoes, a Few Tips

  1. It’s OK to reach for that peeled garlic. While blanching the garlic cloves does make them easier to peel, 30 cloves is a lot! If you’ve got pre-peeled garlic on hand, go ahead and use it to save yourself some time.
  2. Watch the butter carefully. Butter can go from brown to burnt extremely quickly, so stir the butter and garlic often while they’re cooking, and adjust the heat as necessary.
  3. Don’t wait to boil the potatoes. Go ahead and get the potatoes started while the butter and garlic are cooking (I know I just told you to watch the butter carefully, but the potato task is mostly hands-off). Plus, multi-tasking means you’ll get to dig in sooner!

Have you tried Julia Child’s garlic mashed potatoes? Tell us what you thought in the comments!