The Bold And Spicy Ingredient That Livens Up Mashed Potatoes

A dollop of horseradish is all it takes to intensify potatoes au gratin, and the ingredient works just as well for elevating your mashed sides. Horseradish packs pungent flavor with earthy heat and a sharp bite, and you can use this intensity to upgrade your plain-Jane mashed potatoes using fresh horseradish root, store-bought paste, or jarred horseradish cream sauce.

The condiment comes from the root of the horseradish plant, belonging to the same family as wasabi and mustard. The raw root can be found in the produce aisle, and the prepared stuff can be found jarred in the condiment aisle. Prepared horseradish is typically made from some combination of grated root, vinegar and salt, sometimes with the addition of cream. To be clear, the right variety for mashed potatoes is the pale-hued paste, not the beet-colored variety.

To incorporate this star ingredient into your bright, dimensional mashed potatoes, boil and drain the potatoes as usual, then add the horseradish during the step when you would normally mash in the milk and butter. If you're working with fresh horseradish root, grate it using a handheld zester or the finest holes on a box grater. The golden ratio is 1 tablespoon of grated fresh horseradish per 1 ½ pounds of potatoes. If you're using prepared jarred horseradish paste or cream, use 2 teaspoons per pound of potatoes (the equivalent of roughly 2 medium-sized potatoes).

Horseradish mashed potatoes are about to permanently join your go-to recipe rotation

To serve, garnish your horseradish mash with cracked pepper and chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color. For the fluffiest mouthfeel, opt for starchy Yukon gold or russet potatoes. If you're using powdered instant mashed potatoes, tread with caution and mash in a small dollop of horseradish at a time, tasting after each addition.

Don't forget to add a creamy element to balance the flavor of the sharp root. Greek yogurt would work well as a tangy moisture component, while sour cream would add a touch of savory acidity. It's also worth noting that prepared, jarred horseradish can range heavily on the potency of its kick depending on the brand, so some experimentation might be necessary (and delicious) to get the proportions right. Feel free to play around and adjust to taste. 

To complete the meal, pair your bold, flavor-loaded horseradish mashed potatoes with complementary entrees like chicken piccata, meatloaf, oven-baked pork chops, veal marsala, or blackened cod with miso marinade (a favorite of Jacques Pépin). For a meatless meal, this elevated mash would also pair well with a steaming crock of French onion soup, pureed carrot cashew bisque, mushroom stew, creamed spinach, or zucchini lasagna. Got any leftovers? Break out the waffle maker and transform those leftover punchy horseradish taters into flavorful, savory loaded mashed potato waffles with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives.