Sunday, January 20, 2019

ChezCindy: Simple Mashed Potatoes

Are mashed potatoes really so simple?  I think there is technique, and preferences, to making them.  But nothing too terribly complicated.  My husband tells a story of when he was a small boy at a holiday dinner with extended family.  He made the innocent comment that he likes is mother's mashed potatoes better than his aunt's because his mom's have no lumps.  Imagine the embarrassment at that holiday table.

I generally prefer to make mashed potatoes using Yukon Gold potatoes.  They have a creamy yellow flesh and when fully cooked, the flesh mashes easily into a lump-free texture.  I use cream, butter, kosher salt and a bit of white pepper.  A tip to consider is to always heat the cream, or milk, before adding it to the cooked potatoes.  Reason being is that keeping the potatoes hot during the mashing process is key to avoiding lumps.  Cold cream will bring down the temperature of the potatoes.  I also have the butter very soft so that it melts in quickly when added to the hot potatoes.  Or you can melt the butter too.  Salt is a must for  potatoes as they are bland without it.  My taste preference is to use white pepper, but only a pinch.  Others use black pepper, which is fine if you don't mind seeing the bits of black against the creamy pale pallet of potatoes.

Mashed potatoes take well to adding other culinary friends to change up the flavor.  I make mustard mashed potatoes to serve with mustard brown sugar salmon. recipe here  Try adding other compound butters to mashed potatoes to serve with grilled steak.  recipe here

My simple mashed potatoes recipe is below.  Follow it as is or change it up by boiling both Yukon Golds and sweet potatoes, mashing them together for a mildly sweet blend.  Add whole garlic cloves, boiling and mashing together, for a spicy kick.  Other combinations could be potatoes and celery root, or rutabaga.  Simple mashed potatoes are just the beginning.

Chez Cindy Simple Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
pinch white pepper

Peel the potatoes; cut each potato into 2-3 inch pieces.  Place the potatoes into a large deep pan; fill the pan with cold water to cover 1-inch above the potatoes.  Place the pan on the stove top over medium-high heat.  Place the lid on the pan, slightly askew.  Do not place the lid on fully or the potatoes will boil over.  Boil for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.  Remove from heat and drain the potatoes into a colander strainer.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the cream and butter to warm just until the butter melts.  Set aside.  Using a potato ricer, press the drained potatoes, a few pieces at a time through the ricer, directly into the pan they were cooked in.  Add the salt and pepper, and half of the cream/butter.  Using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir the potatoes to combine.  Add more cream/butter until you reach a creamy smooth texture.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve hot.

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