Christmas 2023: 8 Potato Side Dishes To Make Your Feast Merrier
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When you think of Christmas dinners and feasts, that huge, traditional roast always comes to mind as the primary feature of the table. Whether it is a turkey roast, chicken roast, duck roast or a vegan-style cauliflower roast, everybody who has a Christmas-themed party loves to indulge in that perfect central dish for Christmas. But no matter which roast you graciously place at the centre of your table, just that one dish is never enough. And when it comes to sides that make Christmas merrier, nothing beats the flavour of potatoes. 

Before you ask, potatoes haven’t been a part of Christmas celebrations since time immemorial. Originally from South America, potatoes were transported to Europe and the rest of the world by French, Portuguese and Spanish colonialists and soon became a worldwide staple for most cultures, including India. And yet, with the advent of potatoes, the traditional Christmas feast only became better and yummier—and nobody can debate that fact. 

In fact, if you look at the most popular Christmas sides, potatoes would hands-down be the most popular choice the world over. If you have any doubts about this, take a look at the following festive potato side dishes that will certainly make your Christmas feast merrier. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Gordon Ramsay

Roast Potatoes 

The king of all Christmas potato dishes, this one goes really well with all kinds of central roast dishes, whether they are meat-based or vegetarian. A part of British Christmas traditions for centuries, the use of roast potatoes in Christmas feasts started during the reign of King George II. Cooked in goose fat after parboiling, these early roast potatoes had a crispy exterior and soft interior, making it the ultimate indulgence for Christmas. Today, people add a variety of flavourings with spices and herbs like cumin, turmeric, pepper, rosemary, thyme, etc. 

Mashed Potatoes 

A good, creamy bowl of mashed potatoes always pairs perfectly with roasted meat and veggies on Christmas. This dish was primarily born in England and Ireland in the 18th century, where potatoes where boiled, mashed with precision, mixed with butter, milk or cream, seasoned with salt and pepper and then served. Nowadays of course, people add everything from fried bacon bits, peas to varieties of cheese to enhance the flavours of this one.  

Scalloped Potatoes 

When it comes to potatoes and innovating dishes with them, the French really aced the tradition and passed down gems like scalloped potatoes down the generations. Originally invented as Pomme de Terre Dauphinoise, this French potato dish consists of thinly sliced potatoes that are leyered with cream and cheese, and then baked to perfection. The dish later travelled to the US and became a household favourite for Christmas, where now the additions also include fried onions.  

Potato Gratin 

Another French cuisine favourite that is now popular for Christmas around the world, potato gratin refers to potatoes that have been grated or thinly sliced. These are mixed with cream and cheese varieties like Parmesan or Gruyere and placed in a baking dish. Topped with breadcrumbs, potato gratin has a golden top and soft, cheesy potatoes underneath. A true Christmas indulgence for cheese lovers? Absolutely. 

Potato Latkes 

Originally a Jewish dish popular in Eastern European nations, Latkes are made as a part of the traditional Hanukkah feast. Potatoes are grated along with onions, then mixed with eggs and flour to make a thick sort of potato batter. These are then spooned into hot oil and fried to golden perfection. Traditionally served with sour cream or applesauce, this Hanukkah potato dish symbolises the value and use of oil in the festival.  

Hasselback Potatoes 

The Swedes love their meat and potatoes, and this dish proves it like no other. Named after the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm, this dish was first invented and introduced on the iconic restaurant’s menu in the 1940s. From there, this dish travelled around the world and is today famous for blending the idea of whole roast potatoes and sliced potatoes at the same time—and also for looking like the prettiest potato treats in the world. 

Potato Salad 

While it is traditional to have a salad on the side of your Christmas roast, not many think immediately about a potato salad—except perhaps the Germans and the French who invented various versions of this dish. Potatoes are simply boiled and mixed with a dressing of mayonnaise, mustard sauce, vinegar, herbs and pepper for the traditional, old-school version. Nowadays of course, you can just as easily add boiled beans, feta cheese and fancier, creamier dressings for this one. 

Potato Bread 

Created in Ireland and the Scandinavian nations during times of wheat shortages, potato bread slowly turned into a Christmas favourite because of the way it could be easily made and even decorated. Traditionally, mashed potatoes were used to replace wheat flour and make a denser bread variety that everyone could enjoy, but today, the presentation of potato bread—and even the daintier potato rolls many make—have taken over Christmas feasts all over the world.