Even a dish as simple as mashed potatoes has room for improvement. Here are the “10 Commandments of Mashed Potatoes” to guarantee perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes every time.
1. DO USE THE RIGHT POTATOES: Yukon golds or Russets
2. DO CUT YOUR POTATOES THE SAME SIZE: start them in cold water, and bring to a simmer until they are cooked through.
3. DO NOT ADD YOUR FLAVORINGS AT THE END: add garlic and herbs in the pot with the milk or cream
4. DO EMBRACE THE TANG FACTOR: add cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche.
5. DO NOT LOSE THE FLUFF: drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid after they have boiled. Cook them just for a couple minutes on medium-low, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture is evaporated.
6. DO NOT ADD COLD LIQUID: Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is HOT.
7. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SEASONING: Salt the water you are cooking your potatoes in.
8. DO USE A POTATO MASHER OR RICER.
9. DO NOT SERVE A NAKED MASH: top with butter, crispy shallots or chives.
10. DO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: peel & cut potatoes the day before, cover with water and keep in fridge. Assemble your milk/cream/butter mixture in a small saucepan and refrigerate that, too. That way, all you need to do on is boil, drain, and mash on the day of your holiday meal.
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Makes 8 servings
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Special equipment: A potato ricer
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2″. Generously season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a baking sheet; let stand until dry, 10–15 minutes. Set pot aside.
Meanwhile, heat cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.
Pass potatoes through ricer into reserved pot. Mix in warm milk mixture, then sour cream; season with salt. Serve topped with pepper and more butter.