Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house – my mom has been doing it for many, many years and I think that’ll probably be the case for a while to come. As much as I’d like to do it, my dining room is nowhere near big enough to seat the whole family. The layout of our house just isn’t very conducive for entertaining in general. It’s one of those things I didn’t really give too much thought when we were house shopping, but so wish I had. I can guarantee you that (and about 20 other things we didn’t consider as first time home buyers) will be much higher up on the priority list when we’re ready to start looking for our next house!

Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

So, anyway, in lieu of having the whole family over, Shane and I usually do a little mini Thanksgiving dinner of our own sometime in the week or two before the actual holiday. It usually coincides with my desire to test out new recipes to share with you guys :) Yesterday was that day, and wow, what a meal! We stuffed ourselves silly and still have leftovers to last for days and days. It’s going to feel like Thanksgiving every night this week, and I’m positive neither of us will mind a bit.

I have so many new recipes I can’t wait to tell you about – for the next two weeks there’s going to be a lot of talk about side dishes and desserts. I hope you find something that you’re excited to add to your menu!

Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

I had to start with these Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes today because they kind of blew my mind. Regular ole mashed potatoes are one of my favorite foods period and sometimes it’s best not to mess with a good thing, but this is not one of those times. Adding bacon was kind of a given, it just makes everything better, including potatoes. But the brown butter was something I’d never considered before. I’ve used it a ton in my baking, but never in a savory application. Sometimes the richness of the brown butter gets lost in baking, but it’s front and center here, giving these potatoes the most amazing flavor – complex and slightly nutty. Combine that with the salty bacon and the smooth, creamy texture and these were honestly my favorite mashed potatoes ever.

Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Sides like these Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes are one of the reasons stretchy pants are a necessity on Thanksgiving :)

Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes
adapted from Gourmet, November 2005 (via Epicurious)

5 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon salt, divided
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
minced fresh chives, to garnish (optional)

Add the chopped potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, add the bacon to a large skillet and set over medium heat. Cook until browned and crisp, flipping a few times so the bacon cooks evenly. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease, then chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.

Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return them to the pot. Set the pot over low heat and cook the potatoes for a minute or two, shaking the pot a few times, just until the potatoes are dry. Turn off the heat under the pot then add the bacon, milk, sour cream, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. With a hand mixer, beat the potatoes on medium speed until smooth and fluffy – do not overmix. Cover to keep warm.

Add the butter to a large skillet and set over medium heat. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the butter becomes golden brown and smells nutty (be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burnt quickly). Add the browned butter to the potatoes and beat with the mixer again just until incorporated (you can also stir it in with a spoon if you’d rather). Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper if desired. Garnish with chives and serve warm.