Humble as it is beneath all that rough, dirty skin, the potato has played a role in the rise and fall of civilizations. It has spread across the globe and throughout cultures. No doubt, she is the tip-top of all tubers. And the pinnacle of potato-dom? The homemade mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are as simple as culinary masterpieces come, still there is a real art in getting them just so. Not too airy or too heavy, with just enough butter, salt, pepper, and cream. While some like theirs whipped, others will have none of that, preferring an authentic hand-mashed experience like mom used to make.
No matter your preference, perfect mashed potatoes start with the right potato. The breeds differ in starch and water content. For the very best finished product, you want a potato that is moderate on both counts. While the Russet has long been popular, Yukon Gold are about as good as it gets for mashed potatoes. Displays in most grocery stores will point you to the right ‘tater, otherwise.
Here is how to make mashed potatoes that your family will love:
- 2 lbs Potatoes
- 6 T Heavy Cream
- 3 T Butter
- 1 T Milk
- ½ tsp Salt
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Take a vegetable scrubber to your potatoes.
- Peel and remove the eyes.
- Cube potatoes.
- When ready for cooking, drop the potatoes into a saucepan, and cover with water. Add the ½ tsp salt.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer with the cover on for 15 or more minutes, until a fork slips right through.
- Drain your potatoes, and with heat off or low, add the additional ingredients to the saucepan. Mash with a potato masher.
- Depending on your preferred consistency, use either a heavy spoon or an electric mixer to finish mashing. You may need to add additional milk as well.
Serves four (4) with leftovers.
For a little kick and a very popular alternative, try garlic mashed potatoes:
- Begin as above, but drain potatoes and set them aside in a bowl.
- Over medium heat, melt an additional 3 T butter in the empty saucepan.
- Add one large clove garlic, diced or mashed (adjust more or less to your taste for garlic).
- When garlic has softened, add potatoes, the cream, butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste, again as above.
- Add 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese, if you would like.
- Mash to your preference.
It's hard to beat the comfort and pleasure of a great recipe for mashed potatoes. Enjoy this one with your family over the holidays or with any family meal you want to make memorable.