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Make-Ahead Mash

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

No one is doubting the glory of mashed potatoes, and while they are not difficult to make, they can be quite a faff in large quantities at the last minute. This is the answer: a tangy, subtly cheesy mash, with a crunchy topping, that has revolutionized my cooking life. I made them for the first time last year for Thanksgiving, and they have happily appeared on my table several times since. They come heartily recommended with the Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham, and any time you want to spread the load when you have people coming over.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

No one is doubting the glory of mashed potatoes, and while they are not difficult to make, they can be quite a faff in large quantities at the last minute. This is the answer: a tangy, subtly cheesy mash, with a crunchy topping, that has revolutionized my cooking life. I made them for the first time last year for Thanksgiving, and they have happily appeared on my table several times since. They come heartily recommended with the Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham, and any time you want to spread the load when you have people coming over.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Make-Ahead Mash
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Serves: 12

Metric Cups

For the Mash

  • 2½ kilograms potatoes (for mashing, such as Maris Piper/Yukon Gold)
  • salt (for potato water to taste)
  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 250 millilitres sour cream
  • good grinding of nutmeg
  • good grinding of pepper
  • 35 grams grated parmesan (see Additional Information below)
  • sea salt flakes (to taste)

For the Topping

  • 75 grams dried breadcrumbs
  • 75 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 50 grams grated parmesan (see Additional Information below)

For the Mash

  • 5½ pounds potatoes (for mashing, such as Maris Piper/Yukon Gold)
  • salt (for potato water to taste)
  • 1¼ sticks soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • good grinding of nutmeg
  • good grinding of pepper
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan (see Additional Information below)
  • kosher salt (to taste)

For the Topping

  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated parmesan (see Additional Information below)

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes, then cut each one roughly into quarters, put into a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat slightly and cook until the potatoes are tender and soft but not disintegrating. The timing will depend on the size of your pan, but allow about 30 minutes once the water has come to the boil.
  2. Before you drain the potatoes, reserve 2 cupfuls (500ml) of the cooking water, then drain the potatoes and put them back in the hot, and now dry, pan with the lid on, but off the heat.
  3. Melt the butter and sour cream in a saucepan, then pour this over the cooked and drained potatoes in their warm pot, and mash them while slowly adding some of the reserved potato cooking water to get the right softness and consistency. I keep this a fairly loose mixture, since it will thicken on standing and reheating. Add the nutmeg, pepper, Parmesan and sea salt to taste.
  4. Once you are happy with your mash, spoon it into a wide, shallow ovenproof dish and smooth the top. You can let this cool and then refrigerate it, covered with clingfilm, for up to 3 days, although if you want, you can, of course, proceed to the next stage immediately.
  5. When you’re ready to reheat, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF and take the dish of potatoes out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
  6. Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl, then add the butter, a teaspoonful at a time, and mix together to form a lumpy crumble. Dot over the top of the potatoes, and then sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.
  1. Peel the potatoes, then cut each one roughly into quarters, put into a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat slightly and cook until the potatoes are tender and soft but not disintegrating. The timing will depend on the size of your pan, but allow about 30 minutes once the water has come to the boil.
  2. Before you drain the potatoes, reserve 2 cupfuls (500ml) of the cooking water, then drain the potatoes and put them back in the hot, and now dry, pan with the lid on, but off the heat.
  3. Melt the butter and sour cream in a saucepan, then pour this over the cooked and drained potatoes in their warm pot, and mash them while slowly adding some of the reserved potato cooking water to get the right softness and consistency. I keep this a fairly loose mixture, since it will thicken on standing and reheating. Add the nutmeg, pepper, Parmesan and sea salt to taste.
  4. Once you are happy with your mash, spoon it into a wide, shallow ovenproof dish and smooth the top. You can let this cool and then refrigerate it, covered with clingfilm, for up to 3 days, although if you want, you can, of course, proceed to the next stage immediately.
  5. When you’re ready to reheat, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF and take the dish of potatoes out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
  6. Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl, then add the butter, a teaspoonful at a time, and mix together to form a lumpy crumble. Dot over the top of the potatoes, and then sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.

Additional Information

For vegetarians replace the Parmesan with a vegetarian alternative.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: The potatoes, without the topping, can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Allow to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before adding the topping ingredients and baking.

Note: the potatoes should be reheated once only.

For vegetarians replace the Parmesan with a vegetarian alternative.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: The potatoes, without the topping, can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Allow to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before adding the topping ingredients and baking.

Note: the potatoes should be reheated once only.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • This is absolutely delicious, and a real life saver at big deal dinners. I have made it for the past two years at Thanksgiving and the entire 9x13 pan got eaten both times. I'll never make mashed potatoes another way!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 2nd December 2019
  • Quickly became a favorite...and you can make ahead !!!

    Posted by SWB55 on 23rd November 2019
  • Hi Nigella, this looks great, my mother used to make this when we were young. Instead of the Parmesan she added one or two egg yolks, delicious too. Also, for decoration she made lines in little diamonds with a fork! Next time I'm going to prepare it, I will combine the two recipes, nostalgia...

    Posted by Clairette on 23rd November 2019
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