Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Sometimes I overlook the recipes for what I call "basic dishes", just because I usually don't think of them as needing an official recipe. They're just the things my Mom always cooked a million times, so I learned how to make them from watching her. Take mashed potatoes, for instance. Mom always just boiled the potatoes, then mashed them up with a mixer, and added butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Here's a slightly different but simple recipe that is as easy as it is delicious. I saw them make it on America's Test Kitchens, and seriously they know what they're doing. They try a million different ways of doing something and then they tell you which one they thought was best. So here it is. By the way, it always cracks me up when people say "Wow, REAL mashed potatoes!" Are you kidding? What do you usually have? INSTANT??? Please. There's just no comparison!

2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
3/4 c. heavy cream
6 tbs butter
1 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste

Peel potatoes and slice them into fairly thick slices. Place the slices in a colander and rinse them under cold running water to remove excess starch. Place potatoes in a large pot. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook potatoes until they're tender, about 20-25 minutes.
In the mean time, heat cream and butter together in a small sauce pan. Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes back into the pot over medium heat. Stir until excess moisture has evaporated. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes, making sure to get out all the lumps. Add cream and melted butter. Stir until the cream and butter are absorbed and the potatoes start to pull together. Salt and pepper to taste.

One way to insure a creamy and perfectly smooth consistency is to use a potato ricer. It looks like a really huge garlic press. Just press the cooked potatoes through it and then stir in the butter and cream. Your potatoes will be silky smooth.
To take it a step further, mash the potatoes as directed and then stir in some minced garlic or french fried onion rings, as much as you like. Yum!

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