Garlicky Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes

It took me a long time to learn to love blue cheese and I’m pretty sure I know exactly why. Blue cheese definitely wasn’t something my Mom ever had in the house when I was a kid. My first up close and personal experience with it happened when I worked at the restaurant, and one of our house-made dressings was Roquefort. Several times a week I’d have to make gallons of the stuff and it involved crumbling blocks of Roquefort with my hands. Did you know there are different types of blue cheese? Roquefort is one of the more potent types, and by potent I mean stinky. No matter how well I washed my hands after making the dressing, or how much sweatpea lotion from Bath & Body Works I slathered on afterwards, I could still smell the cheese for the rest of the day. And I’m pretty sure that’s why I didn’t want anything to do with blue cheese for a long time, even after I stopped working there. And probably also why sweatpea lotion doesn’t hold the same charm for me that it once did. But that’s a little off topic I suppose…

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Anyway, last year Crazy #1 had a classmate who was allergic to blue cheese. Apparently this was posted in big block letters on a sign on the door to the classroom. Now if you’ve ever known a kid with autism, like #1, you know that they tend to carefully observe things the rest of us just kind of glance over. And sometimes they get a little obsessive about these things. That’s exactly what happened with blue cheese and #1.

“Mom, what’s blue cheese?”

“Is it really blue? How do they make it?”

“Why don’t you like it?”

“Does that mean I can’t like it?”

There were tons more questions, but it was that last one that encouraged me to give blue cheese another try. I mean after all, I didn’t want the poor kid to miss out on anything. In doing research to answer all of the never-ending questions, I realized that maybe I needed to try a different kind of blue cheese. A milder one, like Gorgonzola. And I’m happy to report that stuff is pretty much da bomb. Especially when it gets mashed up with potatoes, roasted garlic, and caramelized shallots, which is exactly what I did last Sunday.

DSC_6756To make these you need some potatoes, olive oil, half and half, butter, Gorgonzola cheese, garlic, shallots, and salt and pepper.

DSC_6768Start by roasting the garlic, since it takes the longest. Normally I’d say one whole head of garlic would be enough but these were organic and really tiny as you can see. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the garlic by cutting off the top, exposing the cloves inside.

DSC_6773Place the garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Then wrap this up and stick it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

DSC_6780In the meantime peel the potatoes.

DSC_6799Then cut them in half. If your potatoes are really big you might want to cut them in quarters.

DSC_6807Place the potatoes in a big pot…

DSC_6810…and cover them with water.

DSC_6824Add a teaspoon of salt. I know that says 1/2 a teaspoon, but it was the first measuring instrument I grabbed and so I just filled it up twice. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Then boil the potatoes uncovered until they are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

DSC_6834In the meantime (again) slice up the shallots. This is one of those multitasking dishes!

DSC_6840Separate the rings. You don’t have to be perfect. Obviously I wasn’t.

DSC_6846Heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

DSC_6861When the oil is nice and hot add the shallots to the pan.

DSC_6866Stir them around to get them coated in oil and break up the rest of the rings.

DSC_6879Keep cooking these over medium heat until they’re all soft and caramelized. They should be done around the same time as the potatoes and garlic, maybe about 15 minutes.

DSC_6899When you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork, they’re done. At that point drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.

DSC_6921Then add the butter. Yes, a whole stick. Or half a cup. Same same but use whichever term makes you feel less guilty.

DSC_6930Then pour in the half and half. If you wanted to you could sub whole milk here. Start with 1/2 a cup but you can go up to 3/4 cup if you think you need to.

DSC_6936And then add the cheese…we’re almost there!

DSC_6952Then mash those puppies up! And by puppies I do mean potatoes. I do not condone actual mashing of puppies. I love puppies! Just so we’re clear. I don’t want PETA coming after me.

I’m using my Pampered Chef “meat smusher thingie” that I love dearly and have mentioned before. But you can use a potato masher, or an electric mixer, or even one of those fancy stick blenders to mash your potatoes. I like to do it by hand and I don’t mind a few lumps. I think that’s how you know they’re homemade. And besides, if my crazies have nothing else in common, at least one day when I’m long gone they can sit around and talk about how Mom used to make those lumpy mashed potatoes. Right?

DSC_6909Ok now remember the roasted garlic? By now it should be done. Unwrap it and when it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the cloves…

DSC_6973…and add them to the pot of potatoes.

DSC_6982And the shallots. Scrape out every little bit of their yumminess! Then just stir it all together.

DSC_7007I know they’re not the prettiest the potatoes in the world. But what they lack in aesthetics they make up for in flavor. And just so you know, they reheat well. I know because I reheated leftovers for lunch three times so far this week! :-)

DSC_7000Enjoy!

Garlicky Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 2 whole shallots, peeled and sliced into rings
  • ½ – ¾ cup of half and half
  • 1 whole stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 5 oz. Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic exposing the cloves inside. Place on a sheet of tinfoil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in tinfoil and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Season water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and boil potatoes uncovered until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Separate the shallot rings and add to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes are fork tender drain them and return to the hot pot. Add butter and half and half. Start with ½ a cup and add up to ¾ cup if necessary.
  5. Add gorgonzola cheese and mash potatoes until desired consistency is reached.
  6. When garlic is cool enough to handle, unwrap and squeeze out the roasted cloves. Add to the potatoes in the pot along with the caramelized shallots. Mix well.
  7. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I don’t even have words. Just…I want.

  2. That’s so wonderful you retried blue cheese so your son would have the opportunity to like it. My mother hated avocados so I never tried one until I was way into my 20s and now they are one of my very favorite foods.
    Oh, and those sound like perhaps the best mashed potatoes ever!

    • Thank you! My Mom didn’t do a lot of cooking when I was growing up and so unfortunately there were many things I never tried until I was an adult. I didn’t try avocados until I was in my 20′s either and now I love them too!

  3. Bleu cheese can definitely be a toughy for some…We sell it at the winery I work at and some people love it and other people gag at just the smell of it. I like most bleu cheeses and LOVE gorgonzola so your mashed potatoes look absolutely addicting! Great recipe and definitely a must-try!

  4. Looks delicious! I didn’t realize gorgonzola was a milder blue cheese. Loved reading your story, and especially the conversation with your child. I just threw some beef country short ribs in the crock pot, and I decided your recipe will be awesome together with them. Off to the store I go to get some gorgonzola, and a cabernet to go with, thanks;)

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