Cooking On A Budget: Mashed Potatoes 101

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mashed Potatoes 101

Yum


For those of you fairly new to the kitchen and cooking, this post is going to help you with making some really good and creamy mashed potatoes. And to those who already have it down pat, my apologies. Mashed potatoes are one of the easiest things on the planet to make and also something you can screw up royally if your portions are not correct. This post is designed to help eliminate that!
First let's tackle what kind of potato and how many. For us, I always use an Idaho or Russet Potato for mashed potatoes. As a family of four pick potatoes that are at least 4-5 inches in length. Figure 5 - 6 potatoes and that should equal out to four nice sized portions. If you have a really hearty eater, peel a smaller one as well.

Next, make sure you have a sharp knife and a good peeler. The ends of the potato sometimes have a darker spot that you can slice away with the knife then peel all the skin. When you go to slice the potatoes, slicing them thinner will allow them to cook faster. We slice ours about a 1/4 inch or so thick and make all slices equal.


Be sure to have a pot of cold water ready to toss in the potatoes because they will brown (oxidize) quickly.
Once you have the potatoes peeled and sliced, add them to the pot. When finished, drain that water out because the potatoes will be dirty and you don't want dirt in your food! Add fresh COLD water to the pot. The water should cover the potatoes by 1/2 inch above them.

Salting: salting is a little tricky. If you over salt there is nothing you can do. If you under salt a little bit, you can always add some while mashing. But the idea here is to get the correct amount of salt for the potatoes to absorb it while cooking for flavor.  For this amount of potatoes (5-6) I suggest you use regular table salt and about 1 teaspoon.

When you put the pot on the stove start it on high heat, covered with a lid. After about 10 minutes the liquid should come up to a boil and you turn the heat down to medium or a touch lower and prop the lid to allow the steam to escape.

Mashing Time! We love the combination of butter, milk and half and half to make our potatoes really creamy. Plus when mashing we always add some black pepper for flavor.

Drain your potatoes and place them back on the burner with the heat on low. This allows extra moisture to be cooked out. At that time add in about 3 tablespoons of butter in chunks. Begin mashing the potatoes and breaking them down.

Next add in some milk, about 1/2 cup and mash in. Along with that add in 1/4 cup of half and half. Mash well. With mixing and mashing and stirring the potatoes are too stiff, add some more milk or half and half - about a tablespoon or so at a time, mashing and stirring until the consistency is as creamy as you want. Taste for seasoning - do they need a little salt? Add that in. And don't forget to season with the black pepper, mashing and stirring after the additions.

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