Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mashed Potatoes

People who are close to me know that I am a potato lover. And mashed potatoes are in my list of favorites. 

Although it is such a popular and classic side dish, there are too many ordinary, just "OK" mashed potato recipes and they all claim theirs is the best one to go with. The fact with mashed potatoes is that it is a personal thing and you really need to play with any recipe to achieve the taste and consistency you like. And this is what I did here with my recipe, that's all... 

No offense to all the health conscious people out there, but I believe that when it comes to mashed potatoes, the common expression among professional chefs "Fat equals flavor" is true. If you want really tasty mashed potatoes, then you do need to use butter, whole milk and even heavy cream. Instead of eating a huge portion of light, but flavorless food, I think I would always choose to eat full-flavored food in small portions.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-4) 
  • 6 medium baking potatoes (Idaho/russet), peeled, lengthwise quartered, and quarters cut in half widthwise
  • 3/4-1 cup whole milk (or 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup whole milk)
  • 5-6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon for the boiling water)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Put the potatoes in a pot and fill the pot with water until it comes 1 inch above the potatoes, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or knife without any resistance (do not cook them until they fall apart completely, otherwise you will end up with wet mashed potatoes that have no texture).
  • In the meantime, put the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat (do not boil), until the butter and salt are melted and the milk/cream is hot, but not boiling. 
  • Drain the potatoes completely through a sift and put them back into the pot; let them cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently, to get rid of the excess moisture. 
  • Pour the milk mixture into the potatoes and mix and mash with a potato masher, until you achieve the desired smoothness.
Additional Points:
  • To mash your potatoes you can use a potato masher or a potato ricer. When you use a potato masher, mashed potatoes may have a few lumps, but will have more texture. A potato ricer will give you really smooth mashed potatoes with no lumps, but they will be more like whipped potatoes, if that's what you're going for. As I said at the beginning, this is a personal thing...
  • To have garlic mashed potatoes you can add 1-2 minced garlic cloves or 1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to milk mixture.

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