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A typical Thanksgiving dinner table is loaded with familiar foods. Turkey, of course, takes center stage, but side dishes also garner their fair share of attention during Thanksgiving dinner.
Hosts don’t have much room to experiment when preparing turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Though turkey can be roasted, slow cooked, smoked, or even fried, recipes for seasoning the bird are likely to feature similar ingredients. Hosts have much more leeway when it comes to side dishes. New and bold flavors can add a little something special to side dishes this Thanksgiving, and guests might appreciate a break from the norm.
That’s just what this recipe for “Irresistible Basil Mashed Potatoes” from Marlena Spieler’s “Yummy Potatoes” (Chronicle Books) provides. The fresh basil can add some unique flavor to a beloved side dish.
Irresistible Basil Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and fill with water to cover. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender. Drain, return to the heat and shake for a few minutes to dry them out; turn off the heat, cover the pan and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the basil. Plunge it into a saucepan of boiling water, cook a moment or two until the leaves wilt and slightly change color. Lift out of the pot using a slotted spoon, then plunge into a bowl of ice water. Leave for about five minutes or until it turns brightly colored, then lift from the ice water.
3. Heat the cream in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
4. Squeeze the basil in your hands gently to rid it of excess water from cooking. Place in a food processor and whirl to purée. Slowly pour the hot cream into this puréed basil and whirl until it forms a fragrant, pale green cream.
5. Coarsely mash the potatoes with a masher, then add the basil cream and mash it in; work in the butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you’re serving duck or lamb, serve the potatoes with a drizzle of the port reduction around the edge.