Mashed Potatoes with Crunchy Cheddar CrispsPhoto Credit : Joe St. Pierre | Food Styling by Joy Howard | Prop Styling by Ann Lewis
Cheddar, potatoes, and chives are an unbeatable combo. Thinking of the classic green bean casserole with crunchy fried onions on top, we decided to bake shredded cheddar cheese into crispy rounds for a deeply savory topping (they also make a great snack for low-carb eaters). The cheese crisps can be made up to two days in advance but should be added just before serving to preserve their crunch.
From “A New New England Thanksgiving,” November/December 2020
3 1/2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar (preferably orange-colored)
2 tablespoons minced chives
4 pounds potatoes, Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups half-and-half
1 stick salted butter
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, toss the shredded cheddar with the chives. Pick up a small handful of the mixture and drop it in a roughly 2½-inch pile on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture. You should have enough cheese to make 16 piles. Transfer to the oven and bake, turning the pan midway through, until cheese is sizzling, crisp, and uniformly amber in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pat with paper towels to remove excess oil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool at room temperature.
Now make the mashed potatoes. Put the cubed potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender when pierced with a knife.
Meanwhile, warm the half-and-half with the butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain them, reserving the cooking water in a bowl, and return them to the pot. Use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, add the half-and-half mixture to the potatoes, ½ cup at a time, beating to combine until they reach your desired consistency. If the potatoes still seem dry, add a bit of the cooking liquid. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste. Just before serving, garnish with cheese crisps (whole or broken into pieces, as you prefer) and serve warm.