Aside from being a tasty side dish that will compliment numerous meals, mashed potatoes are also the perfect justification for gravy, if you even need a justification at all, which I don’t. I am a hedonist and I make no apologies for that. I believe in treating myself well, especially at meal time, which is why I refuse to eat instant mashed potatoes. It’s not that hard to make the real thing. I’m going to show you how. Besides, you can’t make a decent mashed potato volcano with the instant stuff.
You don’t have to have fancy gadgets to make good mashed potatoes. I used to have a ricer and I was pleased with how smooth and lump-free my potatoes were. I was less pleased with how the potato bits splooged out the sides of the ricer and all over the stove top. How I had to juggle the open ricer in one hand and a large spoon full of screaming hot potato chunks in the other hand. Then, squeezing both handles together, again, with one hand, rubber spatula in the other, I would attempt to direct all further emissions back into the pot. That circus went on for quite some time until one night during a culinary experiment we irrevocably bent the ricer’s handle, and then it was trash. That solved that problem. I then reverted to my good old fashioned potato masher. You know, the round disk with the square holes in it and a nice sturdy handle? Come to find out, my mashed potatoes came out even better and with a lot less work. Yay me!
The Stuff You Need:
1 large or 2 small potatoes per person. (I prefer Russets or Yukon Gold)
1 or 2 TBS butter per serving
Options: Sour Cream, Heavy Cream, dried Garlic, Horseradish, Herbs (fresh or dried), pinch of ground Nutmeg
How To Do This:
- Fill a medium to large pot 3/4 full with cold water and a hefty pinch of kosher salt.
- Peel potatoes and place in salt water to prevent browning until all are peeled.
- Cut potatoes into chunks; approx 1″ cubes. Place all back into the pot of salt water.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat on the stove.
- Once the water reaches a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes, remove the lid and turn down heat to medium high.
- After 10 minutes, check the potatoes to see if they are cooked through. I fish one out with a slotted spoon. If you can pierce the potato easily with a fork, it’s done.
- Drain the potatoes using a colander or carefully holding the potatoes back with the pot lid while gently spilling the boil water into the sink.
- Add the butter to the bottom of the same pot you cooked the potatoes in. Dump hot drained potatoes on top of the butter. Add another pinch of salt and optional seasonings, if using.
- Mash the potatoes with a masher. If you don’t have a masher, improvise with the back of a large spoon or bottom of a coffee mug.
- Mix in some sour cream for flavor or thin with heavy cream if the mixture is too thick.
- Serve right away or cover the pot and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
When I make Shepard’s Pie, I like to add 1 tsp rosemary, fresh or dried, right before I mash the potatoes.
Dried herbs can be added to the boiling water to infuse your mashed potatoes with extra flavor.
As I mentioned, I no longer bother with a ricer. I do, however, like to use my food mill, which facilitates the perfect texture to my mashed potatoes. I found my food mill in a second hand store for $5.00. They can be ordered inexpensively online as well. This gadget comes in handy for sweet potatoes, squash, and other purees. You could also make your own baby food with it. and, you can take it apart for easy cleaning.
This is the ideal potato masher.
This is garbage and not worth bothering with, in my humble opinion.
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