There are some things that need little amendment. Mashed potatoes are one of these things. We recommend waxed potatoes over russets for a good mash. Russets yield a fluffy, rather bland outcome, while waxy varieties are delightfully smooth and dense. If preparing in advance, reserve a little bit of the cooking water from the potatoes to thin the mash before reheating.
- 4 pounds golden potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
- 3 large heads of garlic
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 sprigs thyme (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, plus additional softened butter for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Prepare the garlic: cut the end tip of the garlic from each bulb. Please each head in two layers of aluminum foil, facing up, and drizzle with a generous portion of olive oil. Sprinkle each head with salt. Wrap each of the garlic cloves tightly with the foil. Place the bulbs onto a sheet pan and roast until the garlic is caramelized, 40-60 minutes. Once cool, remove the cloves from the bulbs and reserve.
Prepare the potatoes: place the chopped potatoes into a large pot and fill with cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add the salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender but not falling apart, 20-25 minutes. Avoid boiling the water to preserve the texture of the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes and allow to dry. As the potatoes dry, warm the milk, cream, bay leaves, and the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.
Remove the bay from the milk mixture and discard. While the potatoes are still hot, add a little bit of the milk mixture and beat with a hand mixer. Add in the roasted garlic cloves. Continue adding the milk and beating the hot potatoes until the milk is fully incorporated and the potatoes are evenly textured (without being totally smooth).
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and serve warm with softened butter.