When I was a young girl growing up here in Tulsa, it was my job to peel what seemed like a million potatoes for our large Italian family. These savory mashed potatoes are over-the-top with flavor and are extra-special for those upcoming special holiday brunches and dinners. You just can’t go wrong when the mashed potatoes have bacon, cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese!
5 pounds russet potatoes
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sour cream
4 Tablespoons fresh chives, minced
2 Tablespoons dried chives
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin, optional
2 ½ cups grated mild or sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Salt the water and then bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan or a large mixing bowl, cover, and set aside.
Using a fork, mash the potatoes until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, garlic, green onion, if using, 2 cups cheddar cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish or a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve immediately. Serves 10-12.
Note: This recipe can be made ahead, frozen, brought to room temperature when ready-to-serve and baked as usual.
Note: If you don’t want to fry bacon, you also skip a step by using pre-cooked bacon and cutting it into small pieces with kitchen shears. Another alternative is to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake the bacon in a 350 degree F. oven for approximately 20 minutes until crisp and browned. Then, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, let cool, and then crumble into pieces.