Think of these as mashed potatoes without the last-minute fussing. The swirled, peaked surface gives the potatoes an elegant look -- but not so elegant that you can't still put gravy on top.
Make Ahead: They can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored, tightly covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and finish in the oven while the roast turkey is waiting to be carved.
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup 2 percent milk, warmed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sweet paprika
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold, salted water to cover them by at least an inch. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to medium, partially cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Set over medium heat for a minute or two, shaking or stirring so the potatoes don't stick, until they are floury and have made a film on the bottom of the pot.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer on low speed, break up the pieces. Cut 6 tablespoons of the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the potatoes, beating until the butter is absorbed. Add the cream cheese and sour cream, beating well after each addition. Add a little of the warmed milk at a time (it may not all be needed), beating until the potatoes are light and fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Spoon the potatoes into the dish and smooth the top. With a spatula or fork tines, swirl or score the surface of the potatoes to leave little peaks that will brown up during baking.
Sprinkle paprika to taste on top of the potatoes. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and scatter them over the surface. Bake until the potatoes are heated through and the top is lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Adapted from "One Potato, Two Potato," by Roy Finamore (Houghton Mifflin, 2001).
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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