November 17, 2013

Traditional, Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner - Installment #4: Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the more simple side dishes to make.  However, it seems like people can really mess up the tatters.  So here are my suggestions for nice, fluffy, flavorful potatoes:

1.  Use Yukon Gold potatoes because they make better mashed potatoes then Russet or reds.
2.  Use 5 lbs of potatoes for 10 people.  Mashed potatoes aren't great as leftovers, so don't go overboard on the amount.  Half that amount for a smaller crowd - then also half the amount of ingredients in #6.
3.  Peel and quarter putting them into the large stockpot full of salted water as you go.  This will prevent browning.
4.  Boil.  It's much faster than baking.
5.  Do not use a hand mixer, blender or food processor to mash.  The number one thing that ruins mashed potatoes is over working.  It turns the starches into glue and makes the potatoes sticky.  Use a ricer if you like yours very fluffy and a potato masher if you like them with some chunks (I like the chunks).
6.  After the potatoes are mashed, fold in flavor.  Add 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (cut up), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup milk.  You can add more milk to change the consistency, but don't over dampen or the potatoes will get soupy.
7.  Make the mashed potatoes early in the day and keep warm in a crockpot.  Rub the sides of the crock with butter and use the lowest setting.  I have a new-ish crockpot that has a "keep warm" setting.
8.  Scoop into a nice serving dish for dinner and sprinkle with chives.

Other flavorful additions: 1 teaspoon each parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary or 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing (reduce the sour cream to 1/4 cup).

No comments: