Potatoes were once only found in the New World, but have become popular across the entire planet thanks to their versatility and delicious flavor. And, of course, mashed potatoes are a favorite with Americans. But, there is a French way to make mashed potatoes that elevates a simple dish into a spectacular experience of smoothness that most other potato recipes only hint at.
This recipe is known as “pommes de terre chantilly” in French, but in English as chantilly potatoes. Chantilly is a word used in cooking that was once quite popular. Today, the term is not so common, but refers to recipes that contain whipped cream. This ingredient not only adds fat for a silky mouthfeel, but incorporates air into the mixture. The result in the case of these potatoes is a light texture and incomparable flavor.
To begin making this recipe you’ll need to peel and cube 2 1/2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes and then boil them until fork tender. 2 tablespoons of salt are added to the potato water which means that they come out slightly seasoned already and a bit starchier in texture.
After that you’ll need to mash them well until absolutely no more lumps remain. Or you can use a ricer to get the smoothest possible texture. Either way, you don’t need to worry about how long this step takes as it doesn’t matter if the potatoes cool off in the process since they’ll get baked afterwards.
Then you’ll need to whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add the butter, milk, and pepper to the mashed potatoes and then carefully fold in the cream. Gently transfer the potatoes into a 2-quart greased baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan cheese (freshly processed from the block is ideal) and then bake for 20-25 minutes at 400˚F.
You’ll know the dish is ready when the top becomes golden brown. It’s a bit more work to make than plain mashed potatoes, but the results are unreal. These are basically the smoothest potatoes you’ll ever make and they get lots of flavor from the cheese as well. You certainly don’t need any gravy for these delicate potatoes.
Serve this alongside a pot roast or some baked chicken and you have a meal that’s fit for a king.
Makes 6-8 servings
10m prep time
35m cook time
- 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (2 oz)
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1” cubes. Boil the potato cubes with 2 tablespoons salt until just fork tender. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are cooking (10-12 minutes) grate parmesan cheese.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Set aside.
- Mash potatoes well until no lumps remain. Or pass mixture through a ricer. You want the smoothest texture here.
- Whip the cream until peaks begin to form (about 3-5 minutes or so). In a large bowl combine butter, potatoes, milk, and pepper until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream in thirds until uniform in color.
- Carefully transfer the potatoes to the pan and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.