Is there really anything better or more satisfying than a bowl of perfectly smooth, fluffy, and buttery mashed potatoes? If there is, I’ve never heard of it. To me, there is no Thanksgiving unless you have mashed potatoes. It’s a great versatile side that goes with EVERYTHING. This is an indispensable recipe and one that I go to often.
The first step is making sure to get the perfect potato. These days at the market, there are so many different types of potatoes out there, it can be overwhelming. There’s Idaho, red, marble, sweet, fingerling, etc. For my mashed potatoes, I stick to Yukon Golds. They are not as starchy as your basic Idaho/Russet potato and certainly not as waxy as some red new potatoes. They have the best flavor and texture for this dish.
The second key is to get yourself a food mill or a ricer. I used to think such tools were unnecessary…until I used one. A potato masher is great, I have one, but I never use it on potatoes. With a masher, your potatoes come out lumpy and uneven. A ricer or food mill, however, allows you to create the most wonderful and velvety texture, so your potatoes are completely smooth. Why wouldn’t you want that, hmm?
Lastly, let’s be honest. Mashed potatoes are really a vehicle for eating butter and cream. If you want them to taste good, don’t skimp. I once saw Joel Robuchon on TV. This guy was named Chef of the Century and that’s a pretty big deal. He’s also French, so you can draw your own conclusions. Anyway, Robuchon is famous for many dishes, one of them being his pommes puree, or mashed potatoes. He says the key is to cook 2 pounds of potatoes and add half a pound of butter. That’s his ratio. I have yet to try it, but I may soon. That is not the recipe I have listed, but if it’s worth it to eat that much butter, I’ll report back one day. And then, I’ll go to the gym.
That being said, it’s the holidays, so indulge a little!
Velvety Mashed Potatoes
(Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence)
1 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, whole
a half bunch of fresh thyme, about 10 sprigs, whole
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm the cream with 2 tablespoons of the butter, the garlic cloves, and the thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts; set aside and allow the thyme/garlic to infuse the flavor of the cream.
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to boil – but not a rapid boil, it should be gentle – then add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat andsimmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Drain. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the warm cream and butter mixture until the cream is absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and finish them off by stirring in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Garnish with fresh chopped chives.
Some of you have noted that it’s hard to get away from your family’s traditional dishes, so this is a recipe you can certainly bring to the table to help elevate your mashed potatoes. Hope you enjoy!
(Photo Credit: Food Network)