Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How To Make Amazing Mashed Potatoes (just in time for Thanksgiving!)

Let's all take deep breaths and come down from Election Week with some comfort food, shall we?

So until I married my husband, I had no idea that people, like, ATE mashed potatoes for anything other than Thanksgiving. Did you know people just have them as a side dish for regular dinner sometimes? That's because they're actually super easy to make. Since my husband taught me his chef secrets to mashed potatoes, I am now the designated Mashed Potato Master at my house.

A note on deciding on the amount -  I go with 1.5 Russet potatoes for each adult if they are a side dish in a regular meal. If I am making them for something like Thanksgiving where they are one of many dishes, I go with just one per adult. This is plenty, with leftovers, but you never want to be caught running out of the mashed potatoes!

So here's how to make good old basic mashed potatoes....

Simply Perfect Mashed Potatoes
serves 8-10 (click here for printable version)
12 Russet potatoes
3/4 c. milk
4-5 T. butter, plus 1 T. for topping
2-2.5 t. Kosher salt (to taste)
1/2 c. sour cream

Peel potatoes and chop into cubes. Place into stockpot filled with cold water. Salt the water and turn on your burner to medium-high heat. Cook potatoes just until they break easily when pierced with a fork, like this:

Do not overcook your potatoes! You'll notice here that this chunk of potato isn't falling apart or anything - you don't want mushy, grainy potatoes here.

Drain potatoes in colander and empty into bowl of your Kitchenaid mixer. Use regular paddle attachment and turn on low. Measure out milk, butter, sour cream, and salt and add to potatoes. Turn up speed, and continue to mix. Stop periodically to scrape down sides of the bowl.

Mix potatoes to desired consistency. I like mine pretty smooth, like this:

Spoon into bowl, top with another tablespoon of butter, and serve!

This recipe is SUPER flexible. If you don't have sour cream, leave it out. Use any type of milk and sour cream that you have (I used skim milk and low-fat sour cream here since that's what was in the fridge). Just definitely don't use margarine - mashed potatoes deserve real butter! If you use regular table salt rather than Kosher, you may want to increase the amount a little bit, since Kosher gives you a little more bang for your buck. The amounts of all the ingredients are super flexible as well if you like a different taste or texture, and this is a good base recipe to add herbs, garlic, or whatever. The only thing I will say is that the secret to the delicious taste of these potatoes is plenty of salt. The salt is what brings out the flavor of the potatoes, so don't leave it out. Start with 2 teaspoons, and keep adding by the quarter/half teaspoon until they taste amazing. Don't go all the way to 3 tsp. of Kosher salt, though - that's a little too much (um, or so I've heard). Mmmmmmm..... now go enjoy some carb-y, comfort-food deliciousness!

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