Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes should have a bit of "structure" to them.
They should be "mashed" and not whipped or soupy.

Mashed potatoes don't have be boring and are easily flavored with a bit of dried onion and fresh garlic. I do not like “whipped” potatoes and will save that glop for my death-bed meal along with jarred applesauce that I sip through a straw.

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 lbs.
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup milk or Half-and-Half or cream or any combo at room temperature or slightly nuked
  • 6 T. Butter
  • Salt and pepper

(Easily serves 4)
Peel potatoes. I no longer cut into "chunks" or fourths because they cook unevenly. Slice into 3/4-inch rounds, that way they are all uniform and cook evenly and faster.

Place in a medium pan of water and drain and then rinse. Fill pan with enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch of water. Add the dried onion flakes and a few slices of the garlic clove depending on taste. A little goes a long way. Cover, bring to a boil and then lower heat a bit. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until a fork easily pierces them. Remove from heat, reduce burner to low.

Using the pan lid to hold the potatoes in, drain in a sink. Don’t worry if some of the dried onion and garlic escape; the potatoes have already absorbed their flavor. 

Place the pan back on the range to allow any water/moisture to dry up. Using a fork stir potatoes around a bit to begin breaking up.

You have several options to "mash" your potatoes. A ricer is the best. If you don't have that, use a simple potato masher. If you don't have that, use a pastry blender or wire whisk. I now usually use a wire pastry blender. Electric beaters can cause potatoes be become "gluey."

A pastry blender is a great way to mash potatoes!
Remove pan from heat. Add butter—several tablespoons, and begin mashing. Add warm milk or cream—a little at a time, whisking/mashing as you go, until you get a desired “mash" and thickness. 

Potatoes take a lot of salt, so use a good one, such as Kosher salt or a nice sea salt. Add freshly-ground pepper and even more butter. If desired, add some chopped, fresh parsley or chopped green onions.

Green onions take mashed potatoes to a higher level.

If you are not going to serve them at once, place in a buttered casserole dish. Dot with butter. Cover. To re-heat, place in a 350 degree oven until heated through and butter is melted.

Dive in!!!