- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 8 red potatoes, cut into chunks roughly the same size as the russet chunks
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk (not skim)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
Remember what Richard Dreyfuss made a mountain out of in Close Encounters? Hmm? Mashed potatoes. That's right. The Grand Pooba of comfort food. When I make mashers I like to use two different kinds of potatoes. I used peeled Russets and I use unpeeled Red Potatoes.
Now, if we were just going to make real super velvety consistency kind of fluffy whipped potatoes, we would just use the Russets because they break down so nice when they cook. They get nice and fluffy. But you know, when I make mashers I really do want some chunks. I want a little bit of contrast for my mouth to get into and that's where these little red guys come in. Because these are low starch, waxy potatoes they'll stay chunky even after they're cooked and that's what I'm after.
So, everything goes in the pot together. By the way, I'm using I guess, about a 2 to 1 ratio of Russets to Reds but you can change it around to your taste. Now, we're going to fill this pot with hot water only to the top of the potatoes. We just barely want to cover them. More water will only slow down the cooking and you've got a chance of water logging the potatoes. Now, potatoes, like pasta and eggs, really do need some salt to taste like themselves and now is really the time to do it. If you do it later you're never going to get the flavor the same. Now, I like to get the water to taste kind of like sea water so I'm going to heat this up and I'll taste it after it dissolves. Now, high heat and put a cover on the pot because a covered pot always boils faster.
Mashed potatoes really do need 2 things. They need some dairy and they need at least a little bit of fat. Now, they are some health pundits out there who would say you could make perfectly good mashed potatoes just with some vegetable stock or some tofu juice. Well, I don't know. That's sounds like a Charles Dickens novel in a bowl to me.
I like to use low fat buttermilk, not skim buttermilk. That's going to add some tanginess and a nice texture. I also use just a little bit of whipping cream. What that's going to do is carry the flavor of the garlic and it's also going to stabilize this so that this sauce doesn't break as it cooks. Now, breaking has to do with acid and dairy and heat and stuff we'll get into later.
Now, I just eyeball this. I never know how much I'm really going to need but if you twisted my arm I'd say that you'll be fine with a total of about a 1/4 cup of dairy per pound of potato.
Now, we're going to put this on to simmer for about 15 minutes or until that garlic is nice and soft. Whatever you do you don't want to let this to boil, though, cause it will really make a mess.
Once your potatoes come to a boil they'll probably be done in just a couple of minutes. If they're not, go ahead and back off of the heat just a little bit. Because if these come to a rolling boil they're going to water log, they're going to fall apart and get soggy and disgusting. That you don't want. We're just going to give these a couple more minutes.
We've given these a couple more minutes and I think they're done. Just pick them up with some tongs and give them a squeeze. If they crumble like that you're good to go.
We are going to dump these into a colander and then put them right back into the pot for mashing. A $1 flea market potato masher is all you need. Now, our mixture is ready, got some nice softened garlic in there, so we're going to start mashing by adding just a little bit of the mixture. You don't want to go overboard on this stuff because before you know it, you could have potato soup which is nice but it's not really what we're after. So, we mash.
Now, we don't want to overdo the mashing, either, because potatoes can kind of get gluey on you and we don't want to loose that chunky texture that we've put the Red Potatoes in here to get. I'm going to go with just a little more of the mixture. That is probably going to be enough. Every time you make this it's going to be a little different so it is always nice to have a little more of the mixture than you think you might need. I like the way that looks. And give that a taste. You can see the red skin in there and you still see the chunks along with the creamy. Hmm.
Now, before you lay them out in front of your Pavlovian table guests, you might want to take a look around your refrigerator. Remember what we said, potatoes are great refrigerator Velcro. And you can make some pretty nice special dishes out of leftovers. There we go. Now, we've got some sautéed onions over here, some sun-dried tomatoes, some old pesto, and oh, my favorite, bacon. Love bacon. Now just by adding just one or two of these things—maybe some horseradish which is my favorite—all of a sudden we've turned, you know, a perfectly acceptable pile of mashed potatoes into something a little bit special.
Now, if you wanted to, you could spilt this mother lode into 3 different bowls and kind of lay these out and have a mashed potato party and, you know, that's kind of nice because then all of a sudden a basically rustic dish becomes a cornucopia of splendor and heh, you're a hero.