Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes!! This ultimate comfort food is so easy to make, economical and simply ripe for variation. You can add cheese if you’re having a pareve meal, or use buttermilk for a tangy version. To make it more colourful, try adding a handful of herbs or drizzling a fruity extra virgin olive oil on top. Or for the more adventurous, try mashing in a head or two of roasted garlic.
There are several keys to making great mashed potatoes and we’re going to cover them all.
You will need about 2 pounds of potatoes, 1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock, 2 tbsp margarine, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. CHOOSING AND STORING YOUR POTATOES:
First, it’s important to know what kind of potato you need. Time was, not so long ago, that you could only buy Russett potatoes and that was the end of that. Not so anymore. Now there are high, medium and low starch potatoes available, with different ones better suited for different dishes.
Basically, you want to choose a high-starch potato, such as a Russett, Idaho or in a pinch, some Yukon Golds (which are actually a medium-starch potato). Low starch potatoes such as new potatoes, by the way, are best used for salads since they won’t break down when cooked.
Regardless of what type you’re buying, look for potatoes that feel heavy and firm. Avoid any that feel soft, look wrinkled or those that appear blemished. Also steer clear of any potatoes that show even a hint of green. This means that the potatoes have been exposed to light, either before or after harvest. The green means that the potatoes will be a bit on the bitter side. I like to buy my potatoes from a free flowing bin, not in a plastic bag, so that I can evaluate them myself.
Like onions, store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place (not the refrigerator). Be sure not to store them beside your onions because the onions emit a gas (those little devils!!) which cause potatoes to spoil more quickly.
The first key to making great mashed potatoes is, after you peel them, to cut them into lengths and then into chunks that are equal in size. The uniformity will ensure that they all cook in roughly the same amount of time, meaning fluffy potatoes.
Fill a large pot with cold water. Season with a generous amount of Kosher salt. Add the potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and boil gently, with the lid slightly askew, for 15 to 20 minutes or until a fork easily glides through the cubes.
Drain the potatoes. Return the potatoes to the empty pot set over low heat. Shake the pan to “dry” the potatoes. This step helps to absorb any excess water from the potatoes, allowing again for the fluffiest consistency.
5. PREPARING THE STOCK:
Meanwhile, heat the cup of stock in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until warm. This is a great trick to know about (which also works for when you’re making bechamel). The general rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be adding more than a cup to mashed potatoes (or bechamel), heat the liquid so that it more easily and readily absorbs into an already hot mixture.
Using a hand held masher (not an immersion blender or a food processor which will make your mashed potatoes “gluey”), start to mash the potatoes. Pour in half of the required liquid, mashing continuously. Add butter, or margarine and mash in. Adding the remaining liquid as needed, mashing until fluffy and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Top your Mashed Potatoes with our Delicious Caramelized Onions! Read our Step-By-Step Guide here!