If I had to choose one food item to live off of for the rest of my life it would be without a doubt, POTATOES. You can mash ’em, fry ’em, roast ’em or boil ’em and they’re magnificent either way! My favorite potatoes of all are mashed potatoes, they’re the ultimate comfort food. Mashed potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, they’re for any night of the week and they’re loved by all. It’s an easy dish to make with so many different variations.
When I learned to make them I became the official “mashed potato maker” in my house and they’re still one of my favorite dishes to make today. The worst part about potatoes is that they are not photogenic because I had the hardest time trying to take appealing pictures for this post. Unfortunately I don’t think I did them justice, so take my word when I say my culinary skills are way better than my photography skills.
Also, just a little warning: my mashed potatoes are not low calorie or fat free.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, half-n-half, and Parmesan cheese.
Optional : chives, cream cheese, garlic
Depending on the type of potato you use, you can either peel them or leave the skin on. For Russet potatoes I would highly recommend removing the skin, but with these Yukon Gold, I don’t mind the skin left on. Also, keep in mind this post isn’t really for sweet potatoes, those are made with completely different ingredients.
So peel your potatoes or scrub the skin well and then dice them into medium sized pieces. The key is keeping the chunks as uniform as possible so that they cook evenly.
Put the potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with water by 1/2 an inch, be sure to salt it well.
Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Keep the water at a slow boil until the potatoes are done. The water doesn’t need to be a hard boil but if not at least a slow boil it will take forever to cook through. They are done when you can easily put a fork/knife through a potato chunk. Don’t let the potatoes get overdone because they’ll soak up too much water and become mushy, but if under cooked, they’ll taste like raw mashed potatoes.
When the potatoes are finished, drain them really well and then dump them back into the hot saucepan. Add the butter first so that it starts melting. I usually add at least half a stick of butter, 4 tablespoons, or 1 T per serving.
Then add in the remaining ingredients, plenty of salt and pepper, a small amount of half-n-half like 2 tablespoons (or milk is just fine), the sour cream about 1/3 cup and the Parmesan, about 1/4 cup. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher, or if you prefer whipped potatoes, use a hand mixer. Mash/mix until combined.
Taste your potatoes… the thing about mashed potatoes (and any other potato dish for that matter) is that everyone likes their potatoes seasoned differently. Potatoes need plenty of salt so make sure they’re salted well, more than you would think. The key to remember is always start with a little less “toppings” because you can always add more but you can’t take them out once they’ve been added.
When your potatoes are perfect, serve them up and eat while they’re hot! This is why the potatoes get mashed in the saucepan we cooked them in, to keep them hot because there is nothing worse than cold mashed potatoes. Yuck!
Add different ingredients to mix it up: crumbled crispy bacon, finely diced chives or even roasted garlic cloves. Potatoes are a versatile dish, so mix it up and have some fun experimenting!
The reason I don’t have a recipe card to go with this post is because I don’t feel like there can be a recipe for mashed potatoes. Just know you need plenty of salt and butter, the rest is up to you! If you’re using russet potatoes, it’s about 1 potato per person, and Yukon potatoes would be about 2 per person, and so on. Sometimes I like more butter and salt, and keep them simple. Other times I like a little butter and a little sour cream and plenty of cheese, it just depends on my mood while I’m making them. It’s an easy dish to experiment with, especially if the kitchen isn’t normally your area of expertise. Just remember to add a little at first because you can always add more.
p.s. I also never weigh or really pay attention to how many potatoes I use and I never actually measure anything, but next time I promise I will measure and weigh so I can write up an actual recipe!