Smashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Chives

Meatless, Sides / Saturday, April 25th, 2009


I know, it’s springtime, and I’m supposed to be posting delicate bundles of asparagus and radishes and artichokes. But radishes don’t work with fried chicken. Sometimes you need something springy but substantial, like these Smashed Potatoes with Chives.

What’s the difference between mashed and smashed? Mashed potatoes are supposed to be creamy. You peel the potatoes (usually russet or Yukon Gold), chop them, and once they’re cooked, you mash them within an inch of their lives (or put them through a ricer) to make sure they’re not lumpy.

Smashed potatoes are more rugged. You start with new potatoes and boil them whole with the peels on. Then you smash them by using the back of a wooden spoon to gently press the potatoes against the side of the pot, just enough to break their skins.

Now, your big, beautiful pot of smashed new potatoes is fit for corruption. I love to fold in melted butter and cream cheese, because the sweet tanginess of this mixture really wakes up the potatoes and primes them to showcase fresh herbs, like chopped chives or rosemary. But feel free to play around with the recipe and alter it to complement whatever flavors are in your main course. Trade the chives for basil and diced tomatoes. Or substitute the rosemary with bacon and parsley. The potatoes sound rich, but with so much flavor and texture, you won’t need two servings (or a ton of gravy) to feel satisfied.

My story. Sticking to it.

Smashed Potatoes with Chives

Adapted from “Cook’s Illustrated”

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), unpeeled and scrubbed
  • Table salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces), room temperature
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
  1. Place potatoes in large saucepan, and cover with 1 inch cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until a paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, about 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Discard the bay leaf, and drain the potatoes, leaving them in the pot to dry, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chives.
  3. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break the skins. Fold in the butter/cream cheese mixture. Add cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to loosen up the potatoes. (They’ll thicken slightly with time.) Serve immediately.

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26 thoughts on “Smashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Chives

  1. Rebecca, these smashed potatoes look incredible!! I love a good smashed potato recipe–sooo much better than those mashed potato wannabes. And I love your idea about adding cream cheese. I've never tried that! Usually, when I'm feeling indulgent, I do a sour cream, heavy cream, and butter combo–I know, try hard not to think about what that means. Anyway, I'm super excited to try your cream cheese idea, and of course, I just love chives!

    1. Thanks! You use butter, sour cream AND heavy cream? I'm sure your potatoes are gooooood. Let me know what you think of the cream cheese. I need no excuse to eat more cream cheese.

  2. These look so absolutely delicious!!! OMG.
    And Rupert Everett – WTF? He looked great before and was aging nicely. I think he went to Michael Jackson's doctor…he now looks like those fur-less cats.

    1. Thanks! They are so ohmagah.

      Rupert looks dewy. Not a great look for a middle-aged man. I just want to hand him a tube of aloe and tell him it will be OK.

  3. Saw someone on Food Channel put a couple of cloves of garlic in the water with the potatoes before she boiled them; Said the garlic flavor was all through the potatoes. We'll have to try that. Never thought about putting stuff in the water.

    1. Hmmm, never thought about putting garlic in the water. If you try it before I do, you'll have to tell me if it works.

  4. I want to read more about these because they sound so amazing, but I'm too distracted now, what with Rupert and his new face… :)

  5. I'm not fond of mashed potatoes but I'm thinking I just might dig your SMASHED ones especially if they had cream cheese and bacon added.

    1. They're decadent, but they don't taste TOO rich, which is sort of odd and very lucky. Mmmm, goat cheese.

    1. Thanks! It helps that the purplish-red peels are mixed in with the potatoes to keep things interesting. Potatoes are delicious but not exactly photogenic.

  6. Your smashed potatoes look great! I'm kind of in the same boat as you right now, even though it's spring and we should be excited about starting to cook with fresh veggies and such, I'm really wanting to make this one pasta dish…

    1. We ARE in the same boat. I just posted a Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Pasta today. I guess we need transitional foods to go from all the wonderful, heavy winter stuff to the summer salads and … Oh, who are we kidding? I'll still be eating potatoes.

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