I've never in my life come across bad mashed potatoes. (I take that back. Potato flakes and a blender are coming to mind.) But usually my taste buds do not discriminate: cream, buttermilk, garlic, and Parmesan are all welcome additions to my favorite spuds, and I will never turn my nose up at cream cheese, truffle oil, even powdered ranch. I can assure you that I will eat any mashed potatoes — all mashed potatoes — with joyful glee. However after devouring these gouda smashed potatoes for the second time, my standards may have just changed.
I first whipped up these potatoes for a dinner party with friends. Chicken marsala was headlining the menu, and I wanted a decadent side dish to soak up every bit of leftover sauce. Upon doing a little internet research, I was intrigued by a copycat recipe for Cheesecake Factory's "famous" mashed potatoes that included gouda and horseradish. Although it has been years since I ate at a Cheesecake Factory, I could still recall them being (sinfully) delicious.
Feeling brave, I decided to veer off course, making up my own recipe but using the copycat recipe as inspiration. I started with my basic mashed/smashed potato recipe (unpeeled red potatoes, butter, warmed milk) and added gouda and horseradish a little at a time. The results were perhaps the most decadent and divine potatoes I'd ever had. If the chicken marsala had not been so good, the potatoes just might have upstaged the entire meal.
After many requests, I finally got around to writing down my recipe so that you folks can enjoy it too. I will say, this is a mighty rich dish. These potatoes are probably a little over-the-top for your typical weeknight meal, but they are absolutely perfect to roll out for a sit-down dinner or holiday spread. The gouda, while subtle, adds an amazing texture, and the horseradish, while undetectable to the unknowing guests, provides that little extra pop. (The "secret ingredient" if you will.)
With the last days of winter upon us, whip up these potatoes before it's too late. I can't think of a better excuse to throw a party and enjoy a hearty meal with friends.
Smashed Potatoes with Gouda and Horseradish
Serves 6 to 8
unpeeled red potatoes, cut into eighths
whole or 2% milk
shredded gouda (about 6 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place potatoes and salt in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until very tender when pricked with a sharp knife. (This could be anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.) Drain and return to the pot.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat until butter is melted and milk is warmed through. Stir the milk mixture into the (still hot) potatoes, followed by the gouda and horseradish. Using a potato masher, smash the potatoes until thick and creamy, with a few small chunks of potatoes throughout. Season with kosher salt (2 1/2 teaspoons was the perfect amount for me) and lots of freshly ground pepper.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)