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Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

March 15, 2012

garlic rosemary smashed potatoes

I don’t know what’s in the air but lately I’ve been feeling very nostalgic food-wise. Feeling like foods from my youth or the kinds of foods my grandmother would’ve made. These smashed potatoes are the perfect example. My grandmother was a lovely lady who had mastered the art of most everything homesteading. She was an incredible baker, gardener and general self sustainer. Her canned pears were legendary and after she passed away my family cherished the last jars, rationing out our limited supply so they lasted for years. I can still remember my last bite of her pears, how the word ambrosia repeated over and over in my head as I ate them, completely blissed out.

garlic rosemary

Unfortunately, of the many talents my grandmother possessed, cooking simply wasn’t one of them. Which isn’t to say she didn’t cook, quite the opposite. I believe my grandparents probably went out to eat once a year. Maybe. So practice wasn’t the issue. It was more a matter of… technique. You see no matter what my grandmother cooked she always cooked it for about four times the length of time required. And while my parents were sympathetic to my plight during the holiday meals grandma hosted, for the sake of appearances, us kids had to clean our plates before we got any pie. And man was her pie worth every bite of overcooked everything. But I figured out a solution early on. The two things I could always count on to savor during dinner were her mashed potatoes (you can’t really overcook mashed potatoes) and her famous homemade dinner rolls (I told you the woman could bake). So my strategy was to eat everything else either covered in mashed potatoes or hidden deep within a dinner roll.

red bliss potatoes covered in water

As a result, when I think of mashed potatoes I’m immediately transported back to childhood years spent desperately spooning them onto overcooked carrots and pot roast. To this day I retain an affinity for this magical food. The smashed potatoes we’re sharing with you today remind me a great deal of those from my youth. They transcend the sum of their ingredients (which you should never share if you expect your guests to enjoy them) resulting in a luxuriously rich, creamy, garlicy side dish. Enjoy!

Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes 

Serves 4-6

2 lb red bliss potatoes

1 1/2 tsp minced rosemary plus one stem with leaves still on

2 peeled garlic cloves, intact

3 peeled garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbs Butter

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

salt and pepper


First, place you potatoes, intact garlic cloves, and rosemary stem in a large pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Heat on high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook 35-45 minutes until your potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving a cup of the boiled water. Discard the rosemary stem and set aside the garlic and potatoes to dry.

While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add your minced rosemary and garlic and cook for a minute. Pour the butter mixture into a medium bowl and allow to cool a few minutes. Stir your cream cheese and sour cream into the butter until well combined and set aside. Once you’ve drained the potatoes, add a quarter cup of your reserved cooking water to the cream cheese mixture and stir until incorporated.

Once the potatoes are cooked and dried, add them and the cooked whole garlic to your cream cheese-butter mixture and smash them with a potato masher, stirring a bit in between mashing. Be careful not to oversmash them – if you smash them just until the skins are broken the stirring between will break them apart the rest of the way.

If the consistency is just right add a couple more tablespoons of cooking water until the consistency is slightly looser than you desire – these will thicken up quite a bit as they cool. Season generously with salt and pepper before serving.

garlic rosemary smashed potatoes

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