Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Everyone sitting down for dinner
Canadian Thanksgiving is my big party of the year. It isn't necessarily the highest attended party or the most expensive party, but it's definitely the most work and the most rewarding.

Hosting Canadian Thanksgiving in our apartment was incredibly difficult. There wasn't quite enough room for everyone to sit, spread out, eat, enjoy, or clean up. Now that we're in our new home, Canadian Thanksgiving has become quite a bit easier.

Having more space is half the battle, but the other reason why each year seems to run smoother than the last is that I am now a prepared, cooking machine.

Lesson 1: Take at least one day off of work before Canadian Thanksgiving. Shopping, cleaning, and cooking will all go more smoothly if you have more time.

Lesson 2: Buy the turkey a week in advance. It is hard to find a large turkey in Mid October in the United States. I guess everyone is stock piling them for American Thanksgiving and Christmas. Frozen turkeys take about 4-5 days to defrost in the fridge, so I now give myself a lot of time to find the turkey and let it defrost.
Spinach Dip Bread Bowl and Bruschetta (both recipes are on the blog!

Lesson 3: Make things the night before. I make cranberry sauce, stuffing, and some of my appetizers the day before. It keeps the kitchen a little cleaner the day of and there's less to do once guests have arrived. Which leads to

Smores Cheesecake (and remains of the bread bowl in the background)
Lesson 4: Utilize your slow cookers. There's nothing worse than trying to juggle a dozen guests, the heating of their pot lucked side dishes, making gravy, carving the turkey AND trying to somehow cook and mash a giant pot of potatoes. You go to drain the potatoes only to find that your sink is already full and you end up burning yourself with scalding water. It's not fun. Save yourself and make them in the morning in the slow cooker. They will still be hot and creamy and you wont' have to worry about the chaos of mashing.
Yes that is a turkey hat

One of my guests this year remarked that when they arrived I was sitting with everyone enjoying a gin and tonic--apparently I wasn't my normal semi-frazzled self.

One of my guests is allergic to whey (a main component in most dairy). She can't consume milk, but she can consume butter. I also had a vegetarian guest, so I wanted to make sure that I had mashed potatoes that both people could eat. Most recipes I found for slow cooker mashed potatoes called for cream cheese, sour cream, or chicken stock. This is what I came up with!

I didn't take a picture of the potatoes, so enjoy some others
from my Canadian Thanksgiving
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes


5 lb bag of Yukon gold potatoes peeled and chopped into about 2 inch pieces.
2-3 Cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 stick (3/4 Cup) unsalted butter


In a large pot, just cover the potatoes with water. Salt the water liberally. Cook on the stove until potatoes are fork tender. When potatoes are cooked, remove 1 cup of potato water. Drain the remainder of the potatoes and return to the pot.

Mash in butter, 2 cups of stock, and potato water. Add salt if needed. Your potatoes should be a bit more liquidy than you would normally serve them. Add additional vegetable stock if needed.

Pour the mashed potato mixture into the ceramic of a large crock pot. Place a clean dish cloth over the ceramic and then place the lid on top. The cloth keeps the condensation from trickling back in and creating pools of water in the potatoes.

Place in the slow cooker on the "warm" or "low" setting. Stir periodically, and again just before serving.

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