This is sooooo easy! If you've ever tried wrangling a pot of boiling water big enough to cook potatoes for this number of people then you are going to love this.
This is also a huge amount of food so do scale down if you have anything less than a 6 litre/quart slow cooker. Or if there are only two of you eating. Such as the time I cooked this when I was heavily pregnant and was overcome with that hormonal nesting instinct you get in the last few days....but that's a story for another time.
We had this for our Thanksgiving dinner last night (given we're British anyway, celebrating Thanksgiving a few days early doesn't really bother us too much). I've written over on my other blog why on earth a British family with no obvious American connections should celebrate Thanksgiving. But may I say this is a great way to destress your Thanksgiving cooking. I may not be American, but this is about the10th Thanksgiving dinner I've hosted and it was definitely the easiest, mainly down to this dish. (I'll also post the delectable slow cooker stuffing this week - Brits take note for Christmas!).
Ingredients for 12-16, depending on how many other dishes are being served:
2.5 KG or 5 lbs potatoes. I used Maris Piper
220 g or 1 cup butter (don't faint - there's a lot of potato here), cubed
240 ml or 1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
half a head of garlic (optional)
Cube the potatoes, without peeling (seriously, the skins just melt away somehow cooked this way). The cubes don't need to be too exact - mine where about 2 cm or just over half an inch at maximum thickness.
Put the potatoes in the slow cooker with the butter, water and salt and pepper. Mix gently with your hands so the butter and seasoning disperse nicely. If you are making the roasted garlic version, which I totally recommend if it balances with your meal, then wrap the garlic, unpeeled, in a small piece of tin foil so that it's nice and sealed in but has a little air around it. Pop this little package on top of the potatoes and put the lid on. Cook on High for 4 hours.
After 4 Hours, open the little garlic parcel, if using, and squidge (that's a technical term) the gooey garlic innards right on top of the potatoes, ready to be mashed in. You probably won't even need to snip the ends off the garlic cloves to do this. Then mash the potatoes to your desired and traditional-to-your-family level of lumpiness or smoothness.
The potatoes will happily sit like this on Low for at least 2-3 hours more so you can really work this around your day well. However, if they're to be left a lot longer, you may need to mash in a little warmed milk at the end before serving. Ours were perfect without after an hour on Low. I also really like my plain mash with some grated nutmeg but not if they're garlicky.
Great taste, super-convenient and made a TON of food! I will always make large-scale mashed potato this way from now on. We often cater for the masses so this was a great find. Use leftovers to top shepherd's pie or fish pie, make potato soup with, thinned down with some stock or you can add it to muffin mix (although NOT with garlic in! to make really moist muffins. Replace up to a cup of flour with the mash.
If you're looking for further Thanksgiving inspiration, try the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life As Mom