Friday, November 14, 2008

Two Potato Make-Aheads Plus Gravy

My kitchen is positioned in the center of our home. No walls separate it from the living or dining room (right click on photograph for an expanded view). I love the views, the bright and open space and the accessibility it gives me to visitors in our home. I'm not shy about cooking in front of others - truth be told, I'm a real ham - but there are certain dishes I like to prepare before my guests arrive so they can be spared the noise of appliances and the unsightly mess of dirty pans. Today's recipes are some of the make-aheads I prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you'll be able to use them as well.

Make-Ahead Swedish Potato and Rutabaga Casserole

2 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoon salt, divided use
1 pound rutabagas, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon softened butter
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs


1) Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with water; add 1 tablespoon salt to pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain, peel and mash the potatoes.
2) Meanwhile, place rutabagas in another large pan. Cover with water; add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash; add to potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and well combined. Add flour, eggs and milk. Beat until smooth. Taste for salt; adjust with reserved 1 teaspoon salt as required.
3) Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole. Spoon potatoes into casserole; dot with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4) When ready to cook bring casserole to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until very lightly browned. Yield: 12 servings.

Cook's Note: Potato casserole can be assembled the day before serving.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream
5 tablespoons butter, divided use
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs

1) Place potatoes in a large pan. Cover with water; add 1 teaspoon salt per quart of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain. Put potatoes through a ricer and scape into a large bowl. Add sour cream, butter, salt and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
2) Butter a 3-quart casserole; add potato mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
3) Bring casserole to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Toss breadcrumbs with reserved 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle over surface of potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Yield: 12 to 14 servings.

Cook's Note: Potatoes can be assembled the day before serving.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

4 turkey wings (about 3 pounds)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth, divided use
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange wings in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Scatter onions over wings. Roast, uncovered, for 1-1/4 hours, or until wings are brown.
2) Place wings and onions in a 5-to-6 quart pot. Pour water in roasting pan and stir, scraping up brown bits from bottom. Add to pot with wings and onions. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), carrot and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.
3) Remove wings to cutting board. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.
4) Strain broth into a large container, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; refrigerate broth and allow fat to rise to top. Skim off fat. Transfer broth to 3 quart pot and set on stove.
5) In a bowl, whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until blended and smooth. Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3 to 4 minutes to thicken gravy and remove floury taste. Stir in butter and pepper. Serve or pour into containers; refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months. Yield: 8 cups.

Cook's Note: This recipe has appeared in Farm Journal and Woman's Day magazine.

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Taste the Rainbow said...


I love your kitchen, so open and inviting. Just like you!

I love the idea of making my gravy and mashed potatoes ahead of time.



Martha said...

I love your kitchen. I can picture your cooking there.

The potatoes are an often made here at Linderhof. They are great!

Cathy said...

Hi Mary - Your home is lovely, so bright and open. But that's a challenge when we have a large dinner to prepare. Just making gravy ahead of time is a huge time and mess saver. Thanks for the great ideas.

Food For Tots said...

Tks for dropping by. I luv your blog esp ur intro. Very close to my heart - Simple, healthy & practical. Great shots too! 1 more thing - your grandchildren are so so ADORABLE!

Allie said...

What a great kitchen! Mine is open too and I love it.

Potatoes are my favorite thing to make for the holidays something so relaxing about making them I dunno what it is.

Patsyk said...

I love how open and bright your kitchen is! I think it's always a good idea to have a few dishes that can be made ahead of time so you don't have to do them all while your guests are watching. Some things are fine, but not everything!

Melissa and Zack said...

Mom, just looking at your potatoes is making me drool!!! I guess I'll have to miss out on them 1 more year :(

Mary Bergfeld said...

Melissa, sweet girl, just caught your post. Can you use tofu instead of the sourcream? The butter can be replaced with oil. You'll have to be careful if you use non-dairy sour cream. A lot of them are peanut based and that won't do for the baby.
Next year!!!

Anonymous said...


Jersey Girl Cooks said...

The dishes are great. Your kitchen is stunning! I am very jealous. I would like an open one like that some day.

dp said...

What a lovely home and kitchen you have! Perfect for entertaining! Our kitchen is tucked away from the rest of the house, which makes it terrible to socialize when we have guests. Every ends up in the kitchen, which is galley style. It gets so cramped.

I love potato casseroles, and I imagine the rutabaga gives it a punch in flavor. Perfect that it can be prepared in advance!

Joanna said...

you're kitchen is lovely!!! i'd love to have a kitchen like that someday. it would be a great kitchen for a cooking show.

Cathy said...

Hi again Mary. I have several questions I would like to ask you and would like to send you a little somthing for the holiday if you would be interesting in trading email addresses. If not, don't give it a thought. I enjoy your blog so very much.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Cathy, check your email.

Barbara said...

Mary, your kitchen looks so great. Mine too is open.

Thanks for the make ahead recipes, especially the gravy.

Tracy said...

I love the music on your site! I didn't know Sheryl Crowe covered Hallelujia. I love that song and I also love Sheryl Crowe. I tried doing that on my blog once but couldn't get it to work.

I love your kitchen! I've been wanting to knock down a few walls in my house to have my kitchen more open. If only I'd hit a big contest!

Domestic Goddess said...

Mary, I love your open spacious kitchen. It's beautiful and so inviting. Your recipe for the make ahead turkey gravy looks just as good as it sounds. I'll have to give that recipe a try. Thank you Mary for letting us take a peek into your kitchen, and for sharing those make ahead recipes. All looks so good!

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