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Mashed Potatoes with Fennel

Yield 4 cups
Cooked fennel takes on a slightly sweet note that adds a sublime flavor to these creamy potatoes.


  • 3 pounds fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 medium)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. Trim bases from fennel bulbs; reserve fronds for garnish. Cut each bulb in half through base. Cut out core from each half. Slice fennel lengthwise into 1/4" slices; cut slices in half crosswise.

  2. Combine fennel and half-and-half in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until fennel is very soft. Drain fennel, reserving cooking liquid. Place fennel and 2 tablespoons cooking liquid in a blender or food processor; process 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth.

  3. Meanwhile, bring potato and water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan; cook 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes, and return to saucepan. Add butter, fennel puree, salt, and pepper; mash well with a potato masher or hand mixer until smooth. For creamier potatoes, add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired texture. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds, if desired.

Christmas with Southern Living 2004