Perfect Mashed Potatoes

You should know I’ve been trying to write this post for the past 4 days.  Life has not cooperated.   I expected this week to be quiet, but that has not been the case.  It is all good, so I’m not complaining in the least.  I’m just wishing things would stop see-sawing between excruciatingly boring and Indy 500 speeds.

Okay, so Christmas dinner turned out fabulously.  The rib roast was perfect, the gravy a very nice flavor if a bit lumpy and the potatoes were excellent.  So I thought I’d take this week and write what I did with each item.  Starting with the mashed potatoes.

There are several steps to making perfect mashed potatoes every time.

Step 1: Start with russet potatoes.  The texture makes for fluffy, flavorful mashed potatoes.

I use red potatoes for baking (very moist) and occasionally Yukon golds (never been a big fan) in stews and soup.

Step 2: Scrub well, don’t peel and then cube.  I know this can be controversial. But I think the skins add a nice overall flavor, and do I need to remind you they are packed with vitamins?  Okay then.  Don’t peel.

This is the newest model comparable to the one I own.  Pretty.

Step 3: Steam, don’t boil.  I do this in a pressure cooker, but you can do it in any saucepan.  Put a steamer basket or small rack in the bottom of the saucepan, add potatoes, add just enough water to cover the bottom layer of potatoes.  If you’re not using a pressure cooker, check the water often and add more as needed.  The rack keeps you from scorching the potatoes if you let the water get too low.  Cook until tender.

Step 4: Drain the water (I keep mine for gravy), remove the rack and return the potatoes to back to the saucepan. Now put the saucepan on the burner, turn the burner on briefly until all the water in the bottom of the pan is gone.  Don’t walk away, this is a quick process, but it keeps your potatoes from being watery.

Step 5: Warm milk and butter before adding to the potatoes.  I make sure the butter has melted in the milk before adding.  I used 1/2 cup of milk for 8 potatoes.  I used just a tablespoon of butter because I’m all about the gravy.  Use as much butter, salt and pepper as you desire.

Step 6: Mash well with a hand masher.  When you have unpeeled potatoes, this is your best option.  Gives you the best consistency, not creamy, but smooth and fluffy.  Great for holding gravy (did I mention I’m all about the gravy?).

Keep them warm until time to serve.  This is made much easier because the milk and butter were warmed before adding.  Other things you may want to add:  roasted garlic, sour cream (reduce milk or butter to keep consistency), cheddar cheese, jalapeños (cheddar cheese-jalapeño mashed potatoes are a favorite – no gravy), or bleu cheese.