Quick Side Dish: Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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You may ask what defines “Creamy” mashed potatoes? Each person will have their own preference. However my tip for creamy mashed potatoes is not tons of butter & cream. It comes down to how you cook/boil your potatoes. I’ve picked up a couple tips that make a great mashed potato.

The one thing I will warn you about this recipe is its not as quick as you thought mashed potatoes should be. The key to creamy potatoes is to boil the potato to disintegration. Don’t partial boil the potato where you poke it with a knife and think the potato is done. You want to be able to “poke” the potato and it basically falls apart. This is the one time where boiling your food to death is okay! Once your potatoes are done you will find you hardly need any butter or milk to make it creamy. In fact if you want you could just use olive oil or chicken stock for a lower fat mashed potato. The amazing thing is you will still have creamy mashed potatoes.

I learned from Alton brown to use red/gold potatoes and add a russet potato combo. I agree it makes a great combination especially if you don’t want to add cream, butter or milk. The red & gold potatoes are wax potatoes where as russet has a higher starch and is more grainy texture. However you can still just use russet potatoes and get creamy results.

The other tip I learned from Alton Brown is don’t over fill your pot with water. All you need is about 1 inch of water above the potatoes. The other tip is NEVER pre-boil your water then add the potatoes. I use to do this all the time, it’s the way my mama bear taught me. Sorry Mama Bear! Always start with COLD water. Let the potatoes come up to temperature with the water, it allows the potatoes to cook from the inside out. Why is this important? I forget (I watched his episode like 10 years ago), I believe it effects the texture. Don’t question me, ask Alton Brown 🙂

The other tip I use from Chow Tips is the cooking length. I can’t say time, but if you want to put a time on it, I find it averages almost 30 minutes, depending on how many potatoes you are boiling.
You want to boil the potatoes until they practically disintegrate into the water.

Salt! Yes, salt! Okay this does not effect the creaminess of the potatoes, however most people under season their food. Alton Brown highlighted the importance of “salt water”, as if you are drinking the water from the ocean. It helps, I have much better tasting potatoes when I salt the water well. I average 1 Tablespoon of Sea salt or kosher salt to 4-6 cups of water.

How many potatoes do you cook? My rule is one potato per person plus one just incase you want seconds or leftovers. Of course you could cook up a large batch and freeze it.

There is no real “recipe” I’m just giving you tips/directions. Adjust to your personal taste and servings.

Mashed Potatoes: 6 servings
If doing a combo of red or Yukon gold & russet potatoes:

3 Red or Gold Potatoes plus 1 large or 2 small russet potatoes.

All Russet Potatoes:
4 medium size russet potatoes

Peel Potatoes: If you want skins on, I recommend ONLY leaving the skin of red/gold potatoes. I don’t enjoy the skin of russet potatoes so I suggest always peeling them.

Cut potatoes into equal sizes: cut potato in half, then each half into another half, then 1 inch slices.

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Place in a large pot then fill pot with cold water 1 inch above potatoes. Add salt to water, at least 2 teaspoons of sea salt or more. You can place lid on pot. This allows water to heat up faster. Bring water to boil. Once water starts to boil remove lid, because foam will cause an overflow (if pot is small).

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Turn temperature to a medium high until the water medium simmer or low boil as oppose to a full rolled boil. Let potatoes cook anywhere between 20-30 minuets. Time depends on water and and how many potatoes are in your pot, so time could be much longer even up to 45 min’s. Make sure when you test potato it breaks apart easily with a gentle poke. Potatoes will be soft enough to mash with a fork with hardly any effort. You will notice water absorption, this is normal. Once potatoes are cooked drain water.

If potatoes are cooked properly you can keep this simple, in fact you may not even want to add any liquid such as chicken stock, milk, cream ranch dressing or butter. This is up to you. If you want to add milk & butter continue to read.

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If you want to add milk and butter there are two ways to do this. First note, do not add cold milk (or stock) to potatoes. This effects the texture of potato. You can warm milk in a separate pot until it starts to steam (no need for a boil or simmer, just warm) or create a funnel/channel in the middle of potatoes. Turn oven burner to lowest setting. Then add butter & milk, and do not stir! Put lid on pot and let butter and milk warm up on a low heat.

How much butter and milk? It’s up to you. I add 1 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of milk. I did want my potatoes thinner so I added about 3/4 cup of milk. I recommend adding at 1/4 cup first. If you want thinner add more milk.

(picture below: potatoes drained and mashed, no additives added yet)

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I wanted thinner potatoes. One tip: if you found you added to much milk or cream let it cook on low with lid covered. More often then not the potatoes thicken in time. Usually let cook on low for 5-10 min. Crock Pot on warm is a great way to keep potatoes warm and cook ahead.

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Not creamy enough

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I want thinner

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Thinner please!!! Ohhh yes, perfect!

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I like to add a pad of butter or gravy. Here I added some roasted chicken drippings/juice on top of potatoes.

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I think making mashed potatoes in a crock pot is a great idea! I will cut up potatoes add water and let cook on warm or low until potatoes are done. This could take 1hour or longer. Depending on how much water is left in pot drain potatoes. Then add 1 cup of warm milk then mash together with butter. It will appear the potatoes are a very thick soup. The longer it sit in the crackpot on warm, potatoes will thicken. Just make sure to mix occasionally.

Enjoy!

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