If you stop, you can almost feel the shift in the wind. We are heading into “Hearty Meal Season”. Today’s handy dandy tip is for mashed potatoes. You don’t have to tell others that you love them. Keep pretending no carbs enter your mouth. It will be our secret. In New England, it’s gets gosh darn cold. You need something to stick to your bones, so you don’t blow away with a strong Northeast wind. Let’s make some mashed potatoes. Apply directly to hips.
2 ½ pounds of Idaho potatoes (fine, 5 pounds)
butter (the real stuff, puh-leez)
Making mashed potatoes is very personal: cream cheese vs. butter, lumpy vs. smooth, roasted garlic mashed vs. plain……There are so many options. This is a basic recipe. Unless you are feeding a small army, about 2 or so pounds are plenty. If not, too bad.
Peel your ‘taters. I like to use an Oxo potato peeler for my gnarly hands. Use whatever works for you. I peel towards me. So wrong, but so right. After you peel your ‘taters, rinse them in cold water. I cut mine into small, uniform pieces. You want them to cook evenly. When you cut them smaller, they cook faster. This may or may not be true, but I NEED to believe it.
Place cut potatoes in a large covered pan. Fill the pan with water so it covers the potatoes, and then some. Sprinkle on some
magic salt. About ½ tsp. will do. Bring the covered potatoes to a low boil and cook for 20 minutes. You want to cook them to at least “fork tender”. That means a knife or fork can break up a piece, with no effort. I like to over cook them a little. They are easier to mash! You don’t want to under cook them. Inedible.
Drain potatoes, reserving about ½ cup of potato water. Use something heat resistant. Boiling water can make things explode. So my friend told me. This water goes back into your potatoes. Always add warm into warm. You can use a colander to drain, but why dirty something else? I just use the lid. A little tilt over the sink and there you go. Now for the step that separates one from an amateur potato cooker person. Put the covered pan back on the stove. Make sure the burner is off. Let it set for a minute. Check to make sure any residual water is gone. Your potatoes should look dry. Add a couple of table spoons of butter, and a ½ tsp. of salt. Put cover back on pan and let it sit, still off heat, for a minute. The butter needs to melt. Use a potato masher or a hand mixer. If you’re using a hand mixer, be careful to not over mix. The gluten goes crazy and makes the potatoes heavy. Pour a little of the hot potato water at a time, back into the potatoes. Mash, mash, mash. Add more water, a little at a time, if you want. It’s personal, right? Mash until you get the consistency you want. Salt and pepper to taste. More yummy butter if you want…..
Add a steak to the side, with some green beans, ya got dinnah! Someday I may share my gravy recipe!