One of my all-time favorite side dishes, one that I could easily eat every week without growing tired of it, is mashed potatoes. I prefer just plain old mashed potatoes made with milk and butter, but every once in a while when I feel adventurous, I go as far as making them with buttermilk, roasted garlic or other add-ins so the rest of the family won't grow tired of them and thinks I made them something different.
This recipe I found yet again in a Cuisine at Home (love this magazine!), and on first glance it almost reminded me of my Colcannon potatoes which I like to make around St. Patrick's Day. I started this dish by switching from Russet Potatoes (which the recipe called for) to Yukon Gold. I firmly believe that if you start with a great tasting potato to begin with, you can easily reduce the butter without losing flavor. The potatoes are cooked along with the garlic, and right before draining, spinach is added to the water to wilt it down. The potato/spinach mixture is then mashed. Then butter, milk, salt, and nutmeg are incorporated. For the final touch, pre-crisped bacon bits and a little bit of heavy cream are added.
Bacon-Spinach Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from "Cuisine at Home")
6 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
3 garlic cloves, pealed, smashed
1 (9 ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk (I used 1 %)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Salt to taste
Saute bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Boil potatoes and garlic in a large pot of salted water until tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Just before draining, stir in spinach to wilt. Drain potatoes, garlic and spinach; return to pot and cook over low heat 1-2 minutes to evaporate excess moisture, stirring constantly.
Add milk and butter, mash potatoes until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt, nutmeg and add heavy cream. Stir in bacon bits before serving.