What’s the perfect mashed potato? In our house you get a couple of different answers. I think the answer is whatever you grew up on. Mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Number two for me right after macaroni and cheese. We don’t agree on that either… I just love the mashed potatoes being served in the restaurants right now. It is great being able to real ones again instead of those ones in the cans that seemed to be standard fair for way too long.
One of the secrets to making fluffed mashed potatoes is to avoid over working them. Use Idaho’s, Russets or Yukon Gold for consistent results. Idaho’s will make a drier mashed potatoes while the Yukon Gold will be the creamiest, with Russets somewhere in the middle. Round whites are less starchy than the ones above and a good choice also.
To ensure even cooking, cut all potatoes in roughly the same size. You’ll need about 2 lbs. of potatoes for 4 to 6 servings. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. I usually add a teaspoon of salt at this point. Cook until potatoes are tender and drain in the pan or a colander. After draining, I usually put the potatoes in the pan over medium heat and make sure all of the water is out.
Here are 2 of the ways I most often make mashed potatoes:
Add butter, salt and pepper.
Use a mixer and mash the potatoes with the beaters until all of the lumps are out.
Then slowly add milk as necessary to reach desired consistency.
The other way is to use a ricer and put each potato thru it. Usually if I doing this I heat some milk in a pan with salt and pepper. Then I hold the ricer over the pan and add the potatoes. Use a wooden spoon and stir until incorporated. Add the butter and using a wire whisk incorporate the butter.
If you need to keep the mashed potatoes warm, put potatoes in a double boiler and keep heated for up to 2 hours over a barely simmering pot of water. Check water often. Cover the potatoes with a lid or foil to keep in the steam.
For options you can add a couple cloves of garlic, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, green pepppers, onions, or leave the skins on and on and on. You get the idea, about anything goes.