The addition of just one sweet potato adds some new nutrients, and some pretty color, to a bowl of classic mashed potatoes. You can replace a couple more of the Yukon gold potatoes with another large sweet potato for a deeper orange color, and even richer sweet potato flavor, but we liked the subtlety of just a bit of the orange spud.
The sautéed leeks are definitely a bit show-offy but gorgeous against the orange and something different on a holiday table. The texture contrast against the fluffy potatoes is also terrific.
Mashed potatoes are rarely something I make on a weeknight just as I’m preparing dinner. Just a little to long and labor intensive for a busy Tuesday night. But they can be made ahead and reheat like a dream. Just reheat over low heat, adding a bit more milk to loosen it up, stirring often.
The sautéed leeks are optional, but add a fancy touch; you could also just stir those leeks right on into the potatoes. Which, as I type this, is like a fancy version of Bubble and Squeak, a traditional British dish comprised of mashed potatoes and shredded cooked cabbage. And the Irish also have a version of this, called Colcannon. Both were born out o the need to use up those ubiquitous leftovers, both are delicious. Turns out I’m not so clever after all.
If you’ve made the leeks ahead, which you can, either stir them right in and reheat togther – Buble and Squeak/Colcannon Style, or if you are sticking with the fancier presentation reheat them in a separate pan, or in the microwave.
Mashed Yukon and Sweet Potatoes with Sauteed Leeks
- 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into individual tablespoon-sized slices, divided
- 3 medium sized leeks white and light green parts only, sliced and well rinsed
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt plus more to season
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ to 2 cups whole milk or half and half warmed
- Place the Yukons and the sweet potatoes in a large pot with a lid, cover by at least 2 inches with cold water and place over high heat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Uncover the pot, lower the heat so that the water stays at a simmer, and stir in the teaspoon of salt. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat about two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until they are very tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Make sure the heat isn't too high – you want them to slow cook and very lightly brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Drain the potatoes. Pass them through a ricer or a food mill, and transfer the mashed vegetables back to the pot, or alternately you can mash them in the pot with a potato masher (this method will yield a few lumps, which some people like).
- Add the remaining butter and 1½ cups of the milk to the pot and stir or whisk over high heat until hot, creamy, and smooth. Add the remaining milk as desired to get to the consistency you like. Season with additional salt as needed, and the pepper.
- Transfer the mashed potatoes to a serving bowl and distribute the sautéed leeks on top. Serve hot.
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