Looking to whip up something a little different this Thanksgiving? Why not give classic mashed potatoes a decidedly Latin upgrade? (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Countdown to Thanksgiving: 3 decadent mashed potatoes with Latin twists

The countdown is on! With less than two weeks to Thanksgiving, it’s time to start talking turkey. And mashed potatoes. And stuffing. And, well, you get the point.

This week and next, NBCLatino.com’s Food department will focus on ways to give the year’s biggest eating fest a decidedly Latin twist. We’ve enlisted help from experts across the country—super star Hispanic chefs, food bloggers and writers, and fantastic home cooks—and asked them for their best takes on classic Thanksgiving dishes.

First up: how to amp up your mashed potatoes with a little Latin sazón.

Chef Pati Jinich, host of the PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table and author of a cookbook with the same title, shared with us her luscious and spicy spin: chipotle mashed potatoes. And Miami’s Colombian-born chef Sam Gorenstein, who’s taking the city by storm with his now famous ceviches, whipped up a gorgeously green take with a roasted poblano-cilantro mash potatoes dish that will stand up to any turkey. And last, I tip my hat toward my native and beloved caribe by swapping out potatoes for good ole’ fashioned boniatos. Pureed with a whole head of tender sweet roasted garlic, it’s an alternative to mashed potatoes your guests won’t forget.

Read on for the recipes, and make sure to come back tomorrow for how to give stuffing its Latin twist.

 Chef Pati Jinich’s chipotle mashed potatoes

Chipotle Mashed Potatoes_s

(Photo/Courtesy Chef Pati Jinich)

3 pounds red potatoes, quartered

4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter

1⁄4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)

1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded if you like, and chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, or to taste

1⁄2 cup whole milk

Kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat slightly, and cook at a medium simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until they can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chipotle chile, adobo sauce, potatoes, and milk and mash the potatoes roughly with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and cook for a couple more minutes.

3. Add more chopped chipotle chile and/or adobo sauce, if desired, and serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

Chef Sam Gorenstein’s roasted Poblano-cilantro mashed potatoes

Roasted Poblano Cilantrol Mashed Potatoes_V

(Photo/Betty Cortina)

For the potato puree

4 large russet potatoes

1 ½ cup kosher salt

8 oz heavy cream

6 oz unsalted butter

For the Poblano and cilantro puree

1 bunch cilantro

½ bunch parsley

3 Poblano peppers, roasted, seeds & veins removed

1 garlic clove

3 T water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375.

2. In a baking sheet, spread kosher salt evenly to create a thin layer. With a fork gently pierce the unpeeled potatoes, about 4 times each. Place the potatoes on top of the layered salt and bake for about 60 to 90 minutes. When the potatoes have a soft interior, take them out of the oven and split lengthwise to release the steam.

3. In a medium sauce pan, warm the cream and butter. Set aside.

4. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes with a spoon, discarding the skins. In a large pot, mix the potatoes and the cream and butter mix  together until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Cover and set aside.

5. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Quickly blanch the parsley and cilantro, dunking them in the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove quickly and place in ice water for about 1 minute. Remove and squeeze out excess water.

6. In a blender or small food processor, combine the roasted Poblano peppers, parsley, cilantro, garlic and water until a it becomes a smooth paste.

7. Before serving the mashed potatoes, combine the Poblano pepper puree along with the potatoes to desired taste. If it’s too thick adjust with a bit more cream. Makes 6 servings.

Food Editor Betty Cortina’s boniato and roasted garlic mash

Boniato and roasted garlic mash_v

(Photo/Betty Cortina)

1 whole head of garlic (for roasting), plus 1 garlic clove, minced

1 T olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

4 medium sized boniatos, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 425. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb’s paper, leaving the individual cloves still in their skin. Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb to expose some of the cloves inside. Place on a small sheet of foil paper, drizzle with the 1 T of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb in the foil paper, sealing tightly and roast in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the garlic cloves are completely tender. Remove from the oven, unwrap and allow to cool. (Warning: your home is going to smell amazing!)

2. Meanwhile, place the peeled boniato chunks into a large pot of cold water. Add about 2 T of Kosher salt and, over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the boniato is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Drain the cooked boniato and place in a large bowl.

4. Warm the heavy cream and the butter in a small sauce pot until the butter is melted, being careful not to scorch or boil the cream. Add the heated cream to the boniatos.

5. By now the garlic should be cool enough to handle. Using your hands, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and into the bowl with the boniato and cream. Add the minced garlic clove.

6. Using a potato masher or a large fork, mash the boniato mixture until it’s smooth, leaving some texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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