Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recipe: Outstanding Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes done right
Mashed potatoes are the perfect complement to roasted chicken or turkey (provided of course that there's gravy). But don't leave your mashed potatoes to chance.

The difference between a good meal and a great meal often comes down to whether the side dishes got as much attention as the main course.  This recipe ensures that your mashed potatoes will stand on their own without gravy. Add gravy, and you leave the realm of the side dish and enter the realm of the sublime...

The three most common problems with mashed potatoes are:

1) Under-cooking the potatoes
2) Under-seasoning the potatoes
3) Under-mashing the potatoes

This recipe tackles these issues head-on, in order.


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 6-8 potatoes)
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3/4 tablespoon coarse kosher salt (or a little less than 1/2 tablespoon of table salt)
  • 1 cup milk

Peel your potatoes, and then cut them roughly into 2-inch thick sections. Place the potato sections into a large stainless steel pot, and fill the pot with water until the potatoes are fully covered. Place the potatoes over high heat to boil.

Once they come up to a boil, you may need to turn down the heat a tad so they don't boil over. Boil the potatoes until they are soft, which will likely take about 45 minutes (depending on exactly how thick you cut them). When a fork goes easily into the center of the thickest potato section (and before they begin to fall apart) they're done.

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Drain the potatoes of water using a colander, and consider reserving the potato water for use in gravy. Place the potatoes back in the pot you boiled them in (removed from heat), and add the stick of butter.

Once the butter has melted, add the seasonings and milk. Mash the potatoes for a good 3-4 minutes until smooth.

While the above seasoning guidelines do a pretty good job on 3 pounds of potatoes, if you used more than 3 pounds... you'll need more of everything.

Always taste your food before you serve it!

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