- 3 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 tbsp. Salt
- 1 stick butter, cut into cubes, keep refrigerated
- 1 c. cream or whole milk
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Additional add-ins –if desired: Roasted Garlic, Bacon, Cheese, etc.
1). Prepare the Potatoes
Peel potatoes and cut them into equal sizes cubes. The equal size cubes will allow for all the potatoes to cook at the same rate and will avoid a having some pieces overcooked and others under-cooked. Place potatoes in cold water if you are not going to cook them immediately so they do not brown.
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with fresh cold water. Add the tablespoon of salt to the water. It is important that you start with cold water so that the potatoes will cook evenly. And yes, it was not a mistake, I did say 1 TABLESPOON of salt. You want the water to be very salty. This will allow the potatoes to absorb some salt while cooking. Potatoes can be extremely hard to season once they are cooked.
Place pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to bring potatoes to a rapid simmer. Too hard a boil will cause the potatoes to break down and take on an unpleasant texture. Check the potatoes regularly while cooking until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Once this happens, remove one cube to test. The potatoes are ready when they mash easily when pressed with a fork. Remove potatoes from heat and drain them well. Place drained potatoes back in the pot and place them back on the stove over medium heat. Gently toss them until the potatoes have dried out. Too much water leftover can lead to tasteless mashed potatoes. Allow them to dry as much as possible over the lowered heat.
While the potatoes are drying place cream in a small pot over medium-low heat. Allow the cream to heat. Do not boil. Just warm until the surface just begins to simmer.
Once the potatoes are dry and the cream is warmed, it is time to mash the potatoes. There are three ways to do this: A food mill, a ricer, or a potato masher. If you want exceptionally smooth mashed potatoes use a food mill or ricer. If you do not have either, you can still make smooth creamy potatoes with a simple hand masher.
If using a food mill or ricer: Run potatoes through the mill or ricer and then add cubed butter and stir until melted. Add ¼ cup of the cream and gently mash. Continue to add cream ¼ cup at a time, gently whipping with a whip or fork between additions. Be sure to stir between additions as well to make sure there are no stray lumps left in the pot. Increase whipping toward end to ensure creamy potatoes. Be sure not to overwork the potatoes.
If using a masher: Keep potatoes in the pot and add cubes of butter and stir until melted. Add ¼ cup of the cream. Use masher to gently mash. Add the remaining cream ¼ cup at a time mashing well in between each addition. Be sure to stir between additions as well to make sure there are no stray lumps left in the pot. Change to a whip toward end and increase whipping to ensure creamy potatoes. Be sure not to overwork the potatoes.
A food processor or blender should never be used to mash potatoes. Electric appliances will overwork the potatoes. When you overwork potatoes too much starch is released, and it causes gluey potatoes. If you want creamy mashed potatoes – it should be done by hand. Butter should always be added before the cream and should be kept cold until added. This allows the fat in the butter to distribute the fat and milk solids evenly throughout the potatoes.
Taste the potatoes and add extra salt and pepper if desired. You can use black pepper if you have no white pepper. The white pepper is solely a visual choice. The white pepper is not as obvious and causes no coloration issues. The taste, however, is the same. So, if you have no white pepper, go ahead and use regular black pepper. Now is also when you would stir in any add-ins you wish. My recipe always contains roasted garlic from the Grab and Go section of Weaver Street Market. Mash the garlic with a fork and stir it right in, or crumble in some crispy bacon, or sprinkle in some freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese or a smoked gouda. There are a multitude of add-ins that will elevate your already wonderful mashed potatoes into something extra special.
The potatoes are ready to dish up, serve and enjoy!