What could be simpler than mash potatoes - right? And yet I've come across so many failed attempts I decided to write down this recipe in hopes that it will help someone at some point.
Couple of things you need to remember when making mash
potatoes. Don't use Ukon Gold or any other waxy firm potato. Go with good old Idaho potato, Russet or even baking spud - you need that starchy fall-apart-when-cooked texture.
Butter - room temperature. Yes, cold butter will
still melt in the hot potatoes but it will bring the temperature down and you don't want them to start congealing before you had a chance to eat them.
Milk - or cream - hot, not cold. Same reason as with butter - you don't want the milk to cool
off your spuds.
Any flavorings - cheese, garlic, etc - add with butter but before you add milk.
Any add-ons - caramelized or green onions, bacon chips, etc. - add after the mash is done.
So now that I've covered the basics
- on with the recipe
You will need
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced (the smaller the dice, the faster they cook, all simple physics)
Large pot of water (add enough to cover the potatoes but don't overfil). Salt the water.
1 stick of butter
1 cup milk (or cream) or 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup of milk if you like the tanginess in your mash
Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Drain the water and start crushing them with the masher. Now, potato ricer
is a very good tool but to me it's unnecessary, but go ahead and use it if you have one. Once all potatoes are crushed, add butter and mash it in. At this time add the flavorings, taste for salt, adjust if needed. Now start adding hot milk.
Do it in small increments - you don't want runny potatoes. Once you have reached desired consistency, whip the potatoes using hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment of an immercion blender. Very important - never ever cream your potatoes
in the blender or food processor. It will result in a glue-like paste.
Once the potatoes are whipped, taste again for seasoning, adjust if needed, place in a serving bowl, add scallions, caramelized onions or bacon - or serve plain.
If you need to keep the mashed potatoes warm until serving later, keep them in a covered vessel in a warm oven (around 200F).
Leftover mash potatoes make excellent base for potato pancakes, filling for pierogie or mini-pastries and many
other fun things.