November is Perfect Mashed Potato Month
This is your year to triumphantly deliver the best mashed potatoes anyone has ever tasted on Thanksgiving. Have fun practicing all month long. Renata believes in you!
People have been making delicious mashed potatoes since before anyone had a Kitchen Aid mixer, a food processor, or a fancy sieve.
I bet you anything, all those servants in the basement kitchens of National Trust British palaces made mashed potatoes with hot milk, freshly peeled potatoes, and a big-ol’-fork or spoon.
Don’t let anyone boss you around by telling you to procure an expensive contraption to make a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes.
The best thing you can spend your money on for any kind of great cooking is never the equipment. It’s always the quality of the food.
So invest in an organic potato, if you must upgrade to something swanky. (Those servants had “organic potatoes” back then. So did the paupers.)
Here are my top 10 tips for the best mashed potatoes ever. Yes, I am borrowing from my momma, because she used a hand mixer. I ended up turning into her and using one too. Because it tastes good, that’s why.
da recipe ♥
ORGANIC PANIC. Buy organic russet potatoes! Hey, at least it’s not a mandate for organic chicken.
ORDER IN THE COURT! Peel and cut potatoes into UNIFORM chunks, soldier. That’s an order! Even potatoes like to be treated as equals. And even size chunks means everyone gets soft at the same pace. I rinse those little cut soldiers a bit in the strainer before I cook ’em.
WATER WORKS. Put potato chunks into a pot of cold water on the stove and turn the heat on, You only need to cover the potatoes with an inch or two of water.
Salt! Remember, adding a tsp of salt does not mean you are EATING a tsp of salt. It just means all you little soldiers will be happily swimming and getting a nicely seasoned bath. Yum, Yum!
NURTURE THE STOVETOP. Get the potatoes up to the boil with a high start heat. But once the water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer. You don’t wanna start banging and working all those little chunks into a bar room brawl! You want them all simmering nicely, sweetly, in harmony, until they are all beautifully fork-tender. The second the tip of the knife sinks in, they done. Don’t boil them into oblivion, or they will be waterlogged. (Although mashed potatoes are like sex…even bad ones are good.)
Get ’em outta there! When those taters are done, drain ’em. Don’t let them soak for 3 hours while you attend you kid’s football game. Once they are whipped though, you can go and come back! I’ve eaten mashed potatoes that were three days old, and they still light me up inside.
USE HOT MILK to whip! This part is KEY. Heat a mug-o-milk (yes, organic again) in the micro ’til it’s steaming. (Purists, of course you may heat you milk on the stove.)
Dump drained potatoes back into your stovetop pot, and mix with a hand mixer, slowly adding your HOT MILK. (Yes, you can use your Kitchen Aid mixer, yes you can use your hand masher, yes you can use a fork. I have made mashed potatoes on a camping trip and you don’t wanna know what I used to mash them! SLURP!)
BLEND. DRIBBLE MILK. BLEND. WHIP. Taste as you go and salt as you like. I blend on low ’til they are evenly mixed. Then I fluff the heck out of them on high. I like ’em fluffy like frosting. Oh MOMMA! I usually sex the whole pot up by slapping a pat of butter on top, and as it melts I crank a few twists of sea salt all over the top . Melted butter, crunchy salt, fluffy clouds of potatoes. What else is there in life? I forgot.
BETTER BUTTER. You guessed it, folks. For the best mashed potatoes on earth you gotta let those momma cows show you how good their butter tastes after they walked in the sunshine and ate stuff their great-grandcows ate. Nothing dribbles and oozes like ORGANIC butter on top the fluffy, gorgeous pile of spuds. The color is even different. Watch it melt leak into every corner of that pot. Don’t even bother putting it in a proper serving dish. Just leave the lid on the stove-top pot. Use a glass lid so everyone who walks by starts to drool and begs you to call them the second dinner is served.
Now here is the most important part to remember.
Don’t eat all the potatoes before everyone sits down to eat.
da quote ♥
“This wondrous world has been entrusted to us. So we are stewards. It doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to GOD. So take care of it. “
-Cliff Lyda, pastor at Elmhurst Presbyterian Church (www.elmhurstchurch.org)