Jazz Smollett's Loaded Mashed Potatoes With Bleu Cheese, Bacon, and Chives

Despite being a staple at the Thanksgiving table, mashed potatoes are typically too bland to enjoy or so salty you bloat up right after. The fix: Jazz Smollett's cheesy, garlicky version with bacon. The protein will add a satisfying crunch to the dish and the whole milk will keep the potatoes nice and fluffy. When whipping the potatoes, be sure not to over-process them, which will give them a gluey texture. 

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2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup whole milk
1 stick salted butter
3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup chives, chopped, plus more for garnish

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes, until tender.


2. In a small nonstick skillet, sauté the minced garlic in olive oil. Meanwhile, cook the sliced bacon in a separate pan until cooked thoroughly. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool a few minutes. Once cooled, roughly chop into small pieces.


3. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a food processor. Puree the potatoes with the whole milk and sautéed garlic until just smooth, being careful not to overwork the mixture.


4. Transfer the mashed potatoes back to the pot on a medium-low flame and add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted completely. Add the bacon and bleu cheese. Cook for 6-8 minutes over low heat until the cheese is mostly melted and incorporated.


5. Add the white pepper and salt and mix the potatoes until smooth. Stir in the chopped chives. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with more chives.