Well, I don’t know if they are really the world’s best mashed potatoes, but according to my 10-year-old, I make the world’s best. Whenever we go out to eat, or even go to friends’ and relatives’ houses, my son will taste the the mashed potatoes and announced, “Well, they aren’t as good as my mom’s!” I’m usually a bit horrified and embarrassed when he proclaims this, but husband also tells me that my mashed potatoes are very good. After making them for my mother-in-law, she asked me how I made them, and how they were different from other people’s mashed potatoes. I don’t know if they are different from traditional mashed potatoes, but I thought I’d share how I make them.
First Hint: I use Yukon gold potatoes, not the big baking potatoes. Personally, I think the big baking potatoes are great for baked potatoes, or twice baked potatoes, but I prefer the Yukon gold potatoes for mashing. Here’s why. First, I think they have better flavor for mashing. Second, I think they cook faster. Third, I think they mash better. Now I had someone ask me how small I cut the potatoes up after I’ve peeled them. I don’t have any consistent rule, and sometimes I just let my sou chef cut them to his/her preferred size. I think that Mellow Man and I usually cut them into 1″ pieces, but sometimes I’ll go even bigger.
Second Hint: I cook my mashed potatoes in chicken broth, not water. Well, let’s be honest here, I cook everything in chicken broth, but it does really make a difference. The chicken broth adds so much flavor to the potatoes compared to just plain water. However, this means that I don’t add any salt to the potatoes when cooking. I figure that the broth has enough flavor, and let everyone salt the potatoes if needed when they eat them.
Third Hint: I put the fully-cooked potatoes back into the pot on the stove after I’ve poured out the broth. I got this tip from my grandmother. She said that by letting your cooked and drained potatoes sit back on the range, you dry the potatoes out. This makes the potatoes mash better. Who knows if it works or not, but I always do it.
Fourth Hint: I don’t use milk. I decided several years ago that milk thins mashed potatoes out without adding a lot of flavor, particularly low fat milk. Now, I just use a few pats of butter (unsalted), and a scoop of sour cream. To me, the sour cream adds a good amount of flavor and keeps the potatoes the correct consistency. If I don’t have sour cream, but there is cream or half-and-half in the fridge, I’ve used that too. I also add the sour cream and butter into the potatoes, mash them up, and then taste them. I’ve found that getting the right consistency and taste requires a little sampling!
Fifth Hint: Whip the potatoes after you mash them. I always start with my masher and mash the potatoes, butter and sour cream. Once the potatoes are nice and mushy, I get out my hand mixer and whip them. Frog doesn’t like lumpy potatoes, and this combo seems to make the fluffiest, most lump-free mashed potatoes.
So that’s how I make the best mashed potatoes. What are your tips or hints for yummy potatoes?
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