VALORIE FLEWELLING’S POTATO STUFFING

Flewelling prefers Caribou Russet potatoes in this dish. She suggests adding dried cranberries for a festive, slightly sweet stuffing.

6 medium potatoes

1 cup half-and-half, divided

1 loaf sourdough (or any hearty) bread

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, divided and melted

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash them in ½ cup half-and-half. You should have 6 cups mashed potatoes. Set aside.

Toast slices of bread and cut into ½-inch cubes. Put in large bowl and set aside.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan and sauté the celery and onion until slightly soft. Add the celery and onion mixture and the seasonings to the bread, then toss with the remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter.

Add the mashed potatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half to the stuffing in the bowl. Mix thoroughly.

You can stuff a turkey with this mixture and/or place it in a greased casserole dish. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, being careful not to crisp the top too much.

JUDY KENNEY’S MASHED POTATOES

Kenney rarely peels her potatoes until spring, when the skins have become tougher because they’ve been stored all winter. “I think the peelings add to the flavor, and that is where a lot of the nutrients are,” she says.

Serves 6 to 8

6-8 large Yukon Gold Maine potatoes, unpeeled

3/4 to 1 cup half-and-half

1/4 to 1/2 cup butter

Place potatoes in lightly salted, boiling water. Drain off water.

Mash while warm. Add half-and-half (starting with the smaller amount, and adding more as needed) and butter. Whip with electric hand mixer until smooth. Serve warm.

JUDY KENNEY’S APPLESAUCE-POTATO BREAD

Yields 1 (9-by-5-inch) loaf

1 cup sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup mashed Maine potatoes, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup applesauce

1/2 chopped nuts

1/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan.

Combine the sugar, egg and oil in a medium-sized bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the potatoes, blend well. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the combined dry ingredients and applesauce to the potato mixture by hand, blending well. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, until top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan before serving.

DEENA ALBERT PARKS’ CHEDDAR-POTATO SOUP

Parks, a resident of Woodland and mother of three, is a member of Maine Agri-Women in Aroostook County and chairperson of the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market. She raises hogs and vegetables (mostly salad greens), but no potatoes. Still, when you live in potato country and are surrounded by potato farmers, you can’t help but feed your family a lot of potatoes.

On Thanksgiving, she makes this soup and a batch of potato rolls. Sometimes she also makes an Acadian version of Shepherd’s Pie, which uses pork instead of beef and a bit of summer savory (an Acadian herb often used during the holidays) tucked underneath the potatoes, which are topped with shredded cheese.

This year, Parks and her family will be spending Thanksgiving at her aunt’s house in Nashville Plantation. She’ll bring squash, potato rolls, this cheddar-potato soup, and maybe some pecan pie bars. The day after Thanksgiving, she says, family and friends get together for a Thanksgiving dessert swap.

Parks prefers a starchier potato for this soup. Russets or the new Caribou Russet variety would work, she says, but not new potatoes.

Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/3 cup chopped leeks (or onion)

1/3 cup chopped celery

4 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dash paprika

Garnish: parsley, chopped green onions, crumbled bacon, chives, croutons, wonton strips

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and celery and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth to the pan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Puree in small batches in a blender or food processor; return the puree to the saucepan. Stir in the cheese, milk, pepper and paprika. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted.

To serve, divvy up among bowls and garnish with any or all of the suggested garnishes.

STEPHANIE HART’S HOLIDAY POTATOES

Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing at Green Thumb Farms, says his wife Stephanie prepares these scalloped potatoes every Thanksgiving. A mandolin makes quick work of slicing the potatoes.

Serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

4-5 pounds Cold River gold potatoes

1 cup grated smoked Gouda

1 cup grated Fontina

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a deep 9-x-13-inch baking dish.

Combine the milk, cream, butter, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper in a small sauce pan and simmer over very low heat for 20-30 minutes.

While the milk mixture is simmering, wash and peel the potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Assemble the casserole by layering the potatoes and cheese until both are gone, starting with a layer of potatoes and finishing with a layer of cheese. Remove the thyme stems and the garlic cloves from the milk and discard. Then pour the flavored milk mixture over the potatoes. Put the casserole in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes. When the casserole is done, the potatoes will be tender, the top of the casserole golden brown, and the edges bubbling. Let potatoes rest for 15 minutes before serving them.

DEENA ALBERT PARKS’ NO-KNEAD POTATO ROLLS

You can make mashed potatoes for dinner the night before you plan to make these rolls, and use the leftovers in the rolls. The potatoes can be cooked a few days in advance, but don’t discard the potato cooking water. Instead, pour it into a mason jar, cool, and refrigerate until needed. When you are ready to make the rolls, warm the potato water in the microwave.

Yield: 28 rolls

1 cup mashed potatoes, be sure to reserve the water the potatoes cooked in

1 package dry yeast

1 cup warm potato water, 105-110 degrees

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

5-6 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), softened, or vegetable oil

Sesame seeds

Dissolve the yeast in the warm potato water. Add the mashed potatoes, sugar, eggs, flour salt and butter and beat by hand until combined. Begin with half the flour, then add a little at a time until it’s all incorporated. Cover the dough lightly and let rise all night, either on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours.

In the morning, dip out by large spoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet to make 28 rolls (4 across, 7 down), each a little bigger than a golf ball. The dough will be a little stiff. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and let rise until they have doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

About 20 minutes before the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes. They should be brown on top and sound hollow when you thump them with a finger.

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