Simple, light and fluffy mashed potatoes.
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The most important component of mashed potatoes is the variety of potato used (floury instead of waxy). I have found a limited selection of potato varieties in Vancouver, none of which appear to be that floury. Joel Robuchon, for example, uses Ratte potatoes cooked (baked) in their skins.
I also prefer to use a potato ricer.
Yes for potatoes a "ricer" is the best. But when cooking for 12 people it is a bit overwhelming. Believe me I should know, each time I am in charge of making the potatoes I use a ricer, but I curse myself each time as I squish those potatoes through that little ricer...there I am hot and flustered thinking..."why oh why, did I not use a masher".
So yes, a ricer is better but when cooking for so many, go ahead and use a masher.
Also, a nice combo for potatoes is half mashed potatoes, 1/4 sweet potatoes and 1/4 yams. If you want to get really fancy you can add a head of roasted garlic.
Many people use a hand blender to mash potatoes (including half my family), but there are also many people that say you should never use any kind of blender to whip potatoes.
Here's were I am going to give you a little of Rouxbe's philosophy, well...at least some of my philosophy...Do what makes you feel good! There are a million ways to do things. Some perhaps are better than others, but generally if it makes you feel good and you are happy with the end result then no one should care how "you" do it.
There are many people in the cooking world that "cannot believe, how someone made this or that" but honestly, does it really matter. The fact that you are in your kitchen cooking and not ordering out is what really matters.
So go ahead and do what makes you feel good and if you hear something or see something down the road that makes you re-think "your way" then you can try it...if you like.
I make mashed potatoes when serving large, caveman size roasts to big dinner parties (more than 10 people). So, this recipe is great for the quantity it produces. Usually there is some guy lurking around the kitchen who wants to help with dinner preparations so I enroll him in mashing the potatoes. The nutmeg in this recipe packs a powerful punch so go light on it. And the potatoes really absorb the moisture as they sit so I found it helpful to hold back a little of the cream/butter mix to fold in right before serving. My pet peeve when dining out lately is the over emphasis on garlic mashed potatoes so thank you for making these the "old fashioned" way.
At my last cave man sized roast fest, I made the mistake of using some of the left over melted cream and butter to make the gravy. Baaaaaaaddd idea. Worst gravy I ever made. But the potatoes were great (these are so good, they really don't need gravy).
Here is where a good sized food mill probably comes in really handy (I really like mine). I probably wouldn't use it for my own purposes because I don't cook for a large number of people, but anyone who routinely cooks for 4 or more people should really invest in a food mill.
I'm going to try a cutdown version of this recipe next week and I'm going to substitute ghee for the butter and see how that works. I'm guessing that it will give a slight nuttiness that would set it apart from the norm.
You should be fine with the same cooking time. But don't follow the cooking time exactly, no matter what amount you are doing. Cooking times are always just estimates. Follow the indicators (in the video) that tell you when the potatoes are done and you should be just fine.
The nutmeg is optional so you can leave it out all together. However if you want to add more flavor to your potatoes you could always mash in some roasted garlic. You could also fold in some fresh herbs at the end. Really mashed potatoes make a good canvas for almost anything, so feel free to use your imagination.
Hope that helps...good luck!
The real challenge of Thanksgiving dinner is(no surprise here)timing everything so it can all be served hot and still tasting good. So, this leads me to my question: I have read you can hold finished mashed potatoes in a crock pot until you are ready to serve them. I've never tried this and wondered if you or anyone who has done this thinks it's a good idea.
I have not used a crock pot, so I am not sure about that one, but I have kept them warm over a pot of hot water - like a double boiler.
Like in video, I place butter on the surface of the potatoes, place plastic wrap over the surface and then place the bowl of potatoes over the pot of boiling water (about an inch or so of water is plenty).
I imagine that you could freeze mashed potatoes (they do it for all of those "TV" dinners), I have just have never personally done it. As for reheating them in the slow cooker, this could also work, but I have just never tried it.
Last week I read that I could freeze something that I was making (roasted red peppers) so I just took a few out of the batch that I was making and I froze them to see for myself. I think this might be your best bet...to try and freeze some mashed potatoes and heat them up and see what you think. Only you will know if there is any loss in quality and then you can determine if it is worth it in the end.
Hope this helps! Feel free to let us know if it worked for you and what you thought. Cheers!
I used this recipe (sans nutmeg - forgot to buy it) for Thanksgiving and it turned out great. Used as a side dish it fed over 20 people for dinner. I was skeptical about the bay leaves but they add a great though subtle flavor. I made them early in the day and held them in a crock pot for a few hours(turned off and at room temperature) with the layer of butter slices. I turned it to low about 30 minutes prior to dinner, and they were wonderful. It was nice to revisit and perfect a good basic dish. Thanks!
Yes, depending on what you are making, you can use the leftover liquid to add additional flavor to other dishes. For example, I often use leftover potato water when I am making perogies. I use the water for the dough and use the potatoes for the filling. Cheers!
Personally, I like to leave the the skins on the potatoes. This gives the dish a more rustic flavor and saves some time as well! Also I prefer to just mash and add some fresh chives along with milk (or cream) and butter. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is also great in mashed potatoes.