When my husband and I started dating, we were a few months into our relationship around Thanksgiving. I had already met his mother, but aside from that, Turkey Day was to be the first time to meet the rest of his family – which.is.EXTENSIVE. His mother is one of 7, who have all married and have children and now many of the children have grown up to be married and have children of their own. Altogether this event would include 2 grandparents, Jon’s mother, father, brother, 4 aunts, 4 uncles, 16 cousins, 7 second cousins, 2 close family friends, and a partridge in a pear tree (please note – there were still some absent and since then more have been added). It was quite a contrast from my typical Thanksgivings back home, where my own immediate family always comprised 2/3 of the total population.
Jonathan is a first generation American and his mother’s family is almost entirely Portuguese, so the food was delicious and traditional Portuguese, but considerably different from the traditional all American Thanksgiving foods I had grown up with. Therefore, a few days after the event, I decided to host a mini “T-gives” of my own with Jon and my best friend and roommate at the time, Allyson. We had all the usual suspects: full turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, creamed spinach, salads, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake and of course mashed potatoes with gravy.
The same time next year, I had made significant changes to the way that I was eating. I had cleaned up a lot of the junk, was well on my way towards a more Paleo lifestyle and Jon and I were living in Boston. I still wanted to put on a Thanksgiving feast, but I wanted to work on recreating some of the classics in a way that included far less granulated sugar, heavy creams, grains and dairy. I knew that Jon would be generally on board with this, but I made sure to ask him what his absolute favorite traditional item was so that I could make sure that I made it in a more standard way than risking ruining our dinner with a failed “healthier-Paleofied” alternative. He unequivocally replied – mashed potatoes and gravy. I complied as promised.
I think we have spent almost every Thanksgiving that we have been together with his family based on proximity. And guess what. They NEVER have mashed potatoes and gravy. EVER. I was thinking all along that this was something he had fond memories of since he was a little boy, meanwhile, he had completely forgotten the only time he had ever had mashed potatoes and gravy for Thanksgiving was when I had made it our first year of dating. He had completely constructed a false memory.
But no bother, since then I have learned a lot and now have a much better version of my own Paleo mashed potatoes which is totally versatile and does not disappoint even those who claim that the “real stuff” is the one thing they wouldn’t want to go without.
- Potatoes (red, white, salad - whichever you prefer) 2.2 lbs. (1 KG)
- Bone Broth .5 cup (118 ml)
- Full Fat Coconut Milk .5 cup (118 ml), more to taste as desired
- Ghee/Clarified Butter 2 TBSP
- Black Pepper .25 TSP
- Garlic Granules/Powder .5 TSP
- Himalayan pink sea salt .5 TSP
- Additional spices that mix in well to further customize or add flavor: Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, etc. Start with .5 TSP of desired add in and adjust to taste accordingly
- Cut potatoes into about 1 inch cubes - I do not peel first as I prefer the extra chunkiness this adds, but you certainly can for an even smoother finish.
- Place the potatoes in a stock pot and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Heat over medium high heat with a cover until the potatoes are able to be pierced easily with a fork (this could take 15-20 minutes).
- Once the potatoes are soft, drain them and return them to the pot, but turn off the stove.
- Mash the potatoes with a masher until smooth (or transition to a high speed blender if you want an extra fluffy consistency).
- Heat the coconut milk and ghee for about 30 seconds in a microwave to allow for better absorption and mix into the potatoes along with the remaining ingredients.
- Adjust seasonings to taste. If the potatoes seem to be lacking in terms of creaminess (depends on the type of potato that you choose) start by gradually adding in more coconut milk and/or ghee.