Ina Garten Just Shared Her Go-to Thanksgiving Potato Recipe (and Her Trick for Making Your Holiday Dinner on Time)
If you're looking for something to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit, look no further than Al Roker's new podcast Cooking Up a Storm, where the fan-favorite weatherman chats with celebrity chefs about each dish in a classic Thanksgiving menu. All episodes dropped yesterday, so you can get a taste of what chefs from Sohla El-Waylly to Marcus Samuelsson are making for Turkey Day.
Roker starts with a classic recipe from Ina Garten—the queen of the Hamptons shared her recipe for Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, which first appeared in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (buy it: $23, Amazon) in 1999. The recipe starts with boiling three pounds of red potatoes with salt for around 25 minutes. There's good news for those who dread getting out the veggie peeler—you mash these potatoes with the skins on, so the tender peels add a little extra texture to the final dish.
For creaminess, Garten adds in butter, half-and-half and sour cream. (She smashes her potatoes in her stand mixer, but commenters on Food Network say you can mash the potatoes in the pot you boiled them in for easier cleanup.) Garten recommends heating the half-and-half and butter on the stovetop before adding the ingredients to your potatoes, as cold cream can make your tender tubers congeal rather than get creamy and fluffy. For an added boost of flavor, Garten folds in Parmesan cheese and black pepper, and in just 25 minutes, the potatoes are ready to serve.
Garten also shared her tips on hosting a successful Thanksgiving meal, like checking in on your guests' food allergies or dietary restrictions and incorporating their needs into the entire meal. "I just think it's important to make sure that everybody is well taken care of without feeling singled out," Garten told Roker. And she shared her method for making sure the Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready at the perfect time.
"I do this for dinner for four, and I do this for dinner for 12," Garten explained. "I make a schedule. So, when I'm doing the menu, I literally write out a schedule… I literally [write out] when I should start making something and when it should go into the oven, when it should come out. And then I know that everything will be done…when everybody arrives."
She also said that she swears by doing lots of hands-on cooking in advance, especially when it comes to side dishes. Garten recommends placing side dishes in the oven or on the stovetop as soon as the turkey comes out of the oven, since the bird needs time to rest once roasted. (If you decide to try Garten's mashed potatoes ahead of time, she suggests reheating them in a baking dish with a little extra Parmesan on top, or adding some more warm milk or cream in a glass, heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.)
If you want to go full Ina this holiday season, try pairing those smashed potatoes with her Tuscan Turkey Roulade and serve up her French Apple Tart for dessert. And for more details about how Ina does Thanksgiving—including the time she made a second Thanksgiving dinner so her guests would have leftovers to take home—try Roker's podcast.