Admittedly, I’m not a huge mashed potato fan. For one thing, I think they’re better with garlic, but I’m pregnant and garlic makes me feel queasy, so I’ve been laying off. I make mine the way my mother always made hers: In a giant pot, with a bunch of butter and some milk.
Although my mother did teach me the proper way to mash your potatoes so they don’t get lumpy, for that I thank her. Her Southern husband actually complained about her lumpless spuds, and she was left trying to leave lumps in them, which goes against the very grain of all things my mother stands for.
So at our house this year, our potatoes will be mashed, lumpless, with butter and milk.
But if you insist on making it more interesting, here’s some things to try:
For starters, don’t let your taters get gummy. According to an article in The Washington Post, over mashing breaks up too many starch granules in the potato, which creates that pasty mess. They recommend avoiding electric mixers and blenders and instead head for the ricers and mashers to keep your spud at its best. I use my handheld mixer because I’m lazy and my arm gets tired. My husband hasn’t complained about pasty potatoes yet. Nor, I doubt, will he.
Horseradish and Dill Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
from The Associated Press
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon dried dill
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons bottled horseradish
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the temperature to medium-high to maintain a low boil. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
During the final 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, cream, and dill. Once the butter melts, mix well and set aside.
Drain the potatoes. Return them to the pot and mash them.
Use an electric mixer, whisk, or masher to lightly beat the potatoes. Mix in the butter and cream mixture, then the cream cheese and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ounces grated Parmesan
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.