comfort food? good old mashed potatoes

having had nothing but vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts for eight whole days i find myself thinking comfort foods. could this mean that i’m  missing them? you better believe it. even though i don’t typically like mashed potatoes (except for thanksgiving of course), i’m somehow thinking mashed potatoes! my kids have always loved them-which means i’ve made them every which way you can imagine. i’ve tried cutting corners (bad mom), and they’ve told me the potatoes were too mushy, or sticky, or just not right. eventually i purchased a nice little gadget ( not too big on those) called a potato ricer-which (other than taking up too much space in my kitchen) helps me make pretty good mashed potatoes every time (slight exaggeration here). here’s a run down:
  • 4 pounds organic russet potatoes, peeled
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups milk or 1 cup milk & 1 cup heavy cream
  • unsalted butter

the number one rule is you have to start with the right potatoes-my preference is organic russet potatoes, which have high starch and low water content, and are great for baking, fries (any one actually dare eat/make those any more?), and mashed potatoes. number two rule is you need a potato ricer. this is essential.

wash and peel your potatoes, cut them in to same size quarters, then boil them in lightly salted water, keeping an eye on them since they’ll need to be removed from the heat and drained before they disintegrate( it can happen easily…trust me).
once drained, you want to rice the potatoes. unfortunately you can’t wait for them to cool off- this is a bit of a process as you put a few pieces  of (hot) potatoes in at a time and squeeze down. it’s nice if you can get some help with this (good luck)! when you’ve “riced” all the potatoes, you put them back in the pot, and slowly add (as you fold or stir) either warm (this is important) milk, or a mixture of warm milk &  heavy cream (1 cup each).  you can use a whisk, but don’t whisk for too long or the potatoes will turn starchy and sticky. add the liquid slowly so that you can tell when you’ve reached the right consistency. once the liquid and potatoes are fully incorporated and looking smooth, you’re going to (be bad) and add the butter-i’ll leave the amount up to you…but you know, the more the tastier (don’t go over board). add sea salt (remember the potatoes are already salted) & pepper to taste. the difficult thing with mashed potatoes is that they are best when made right before serving. if you have to make them ahead, complete the process, serve them in an oven proof dish, keep at room temperature (not too long), and reheat in the oven (covered) before serving. you can slide a few slices of butter in before heating…makes for nice pockets of buttery surprise.
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  1. Pingback: images and inspiration (and occasional recipes) from thanksgivings past | Cooking Minette

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