18 November 2013

It's Day One of my annual Thanksgiving Week!  A whole week of awesome Thanksgiving recipes.  Do you have your menu all planned out?  If not, I've got some great ideas for you.  

Today I am sharing a twist on the standard mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes are probably my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  It's hard to go wrong with mashed potatoes, and I love the traditional version, but sometimes it's fun to make things a little more interesting.  I found this recipe on Baked Bree and couldn't wait to try it.  Basically, you roast some apples until they are completely soft, mix some crumbled bleu cheese into cream cheese, and then mix it all together with some mashed yellow potatoes.  It sounds a little strange; mashed potatoes with roasted apples?  And bleu cheese?  I agree that it does sound strange, but these are the most fantastic mashed potatoes I've ever put in my mouth.  

Roasted Apple and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

3 small Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt 
4 lbs. yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
Fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place the apples in a large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.  Wrap up the apples in the foil. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until completely soft.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot of salted cold water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  When the water boils, remove the lid and continue to boil until the potatoes are fall-apart tender.  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  When the apples are done, dump the contents of the foil packet (liquid and all) in with the potatoes.  Mash with a potato masher, ricer, mixer, or however you prefer. 

Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and cook at 50% power for 1-2 minutes or until it is completely soft.  Stir in the bleu cheese.  (You can do this while the potatoes are boiling.)  Add this mixture to the potato/apple mixture and stir to fully incorporate.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

Stir in chopped chives, or if you prefer, just garnish the top with them.

Makes about 12 servings.

Oh. My. Goodness.  These are the best mashed potatoes ever.  The sweetness of the apples and the tangy-ness of the bleu cheese kind of cancel each other out a little bit, so it's not like you get a bite of sweet, then a bite of tangy cheese.  It all melds together perfectly.  The cream cheese does a perfect job of tying it all together and making it extra creamy and decadent.

I first tried these in August when we had friends over for dinner and love them so much that I have made them about three times now.  They are just so good!  You know what else I love about them?  They don't require gravy.  Please don't put gravy on these!  That's great for me because gravy is the one component of the Thanksgiving meal I have yet to master.  I always end up cheating and using a mix.  So I love that I don't even have to worry about it with these potatoes (although you might still need gravy for the turkey).

If bleu cheese has you a little skeptical, let me tell you that I served these to friends who are not big fans of bleu cheese and they loved them.  Raved about them.  They honestly didn't even know what was in these potatoes; they just knew that they loved them.  I don't get too picky about my mashing; these are great with some little chunks left in there.  In fact, you can see some in the pictures above.  But no one even knew that those chunks were apples.

These mashed potatoes will be a staple on my Thanksgiving table from now on.  Please give them a try if you are looking to take your potatoes to the next level.  Your guests will be so impressed!

Come back tomorrow and I will share another great Thanksgiving side dish.  It involves that great fall vegetable: the butternut squash.  Mmm!

Here are some other great mashed potato dishes that you might be interested in:

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