Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sorry to be all about empty promises and let downs, but remember that post where I said that I'd be cooking Thanksgiving? Well, now it's looking like we're going to Tom's parents for the holiday (which is good, because I don't actually have any of the necessary Thanksgiving equipment, like a roasting pan, turkey baster, and a bottle of bourbon). I did get a chance to make one dish, for Tom's holiday party at work. I never actually tasted it, but I heard it went over pretty well.
This recipe comes from Rick Rogers, who is well known in the culinary world as a teacher, writer, and critic. He's written over 35 cookbooks, many of which are about holiday meals. I decided on his mashed potato casserole mainly because it was considered a "make ahead" dish. I knew Tom had to take it into work the next day and it would taste best out of the oven there. I included roasted garlic in the recipe to add some depth of flavor to the dish. I only added one head for fear of it being too garlicky (that's actually not possible for me, but I was cooking for others), but I think next time I would add two or three.  I apologize profusely for the photos. It was nighttime and my kitchen has some pretty terrible lighting.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes adapted from Rick Rogers Mashed Potato Casserole

Makes 8 to 12 servings
The casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.

1 (or up to 3) head(s) of garlic
Olive oil for drizzling
5 pounds baking potatoes (such as russet, Idaho, Burbank, or Eastern)
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Peel off the outer layers of the garlic, leaving the skins of the individual bulbs intact. Slice off the top 1/2" of the pointed end, exposing the individual garlic cloves. Place garlic on aluminum foil and drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil over the bulb and let it sink in between the cloves. Cover the clove with the aluminum foil and bake on a baking sheet from 45-60 minutes, or until the cloves are browned and soft throughout. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Fill a large pot (at least 5 quarts) halfway with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1"chunks and drop them into the pot. Add more cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 to 2 inches.
3. Stir in enough salt until the water tastes mildly salty. Cover tightly and bring to a full boil over high heat, allowing at least 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and set the lid askew. Cook at a moderate boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook the potatoes.
4. Drain the potatoes well and return to the warm pot. Stir over low heat to release more steam, about 2 minutes. Remove the individual garlic cloves from their skins (I found it works best to just squeeze them out), and add them to the pot. Also add the cream cheese and butter. Using a hand-held electric mixer, mash the potatoes until the cream cheese and butter melt. Beat in the sour cream and milk. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Transfer to a buttered 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Cool completely. (The potatoes can be prepared up 4 hours ahead, covered loosely with plastic wrap, and stored at cool room temperature, or cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)
5. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake until the potatoes are heated through 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with the chives, if using.


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