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Thanksgiving 2020 Requires the Ultimate Comfort Food

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

by Kara Kimbrough

I don’t have to tell you these are strange times… unchartered waters… bizarre circumstances… all the clichés in the world won’t do justice to the fact that the upcoming holiday season will be unlike any other.

While stating the obvious – that most of our Thanksgivings will be celebrated in smaller gatherings, if we’re able to have them at all – we still have an opportunity to enjoy some of our favorite dishes. To say we’re all in need of comfort food this year is an understatement.

Next week, I’ll share a few feel-good recipes for reduced crowds and even solo dining. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for the ultimate comfort food – mashed potatoes, of course. Filled with caramelized onions, cream and cheese, it’ll add a new twist to Thanksgiving dinner. Or, it serves as a needed boost to a somewhat-dismal holiday. Even better, it can be made up to 10 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving or any day when only a plate of steaming mashed potatoes will lift our spirits.

Comforting French Onion Mashed Potatoes


- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

- 3 large onions, chopped

- Salt and white pepper and/or fine black pepper

- 1 teaspoon ground thyme

- 1 can beef consommé or 1 cup beef stock

- 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 6 chunks each

- 1 bulb garlic, 6 large cloves

- 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half, warmed

- 1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (can substitute Swiss if you can’t find Gruyere)

For caramelized onions, heat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat and melt butter. When butter foams, add onions and season with salt, white and fine black pepper, and thyme and cook slowly 35-40 minutes to deep caramel and very soft and sweet. Add consommé or stock and stir a minute or so and remove from heat.

Place potatoes and garlic in a pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to boiling water and cook potatoes to fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and garlic and place in food mill or beat on low with a hand mixer. Mill or beat the potatoes and garlic and add milk and cheese to combine. Season with salt and white or fine black pepper, then stir in the caramelized onions.

Serve potatoes while hot or, to make ahead, cool to room temp and refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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