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Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Is there anything more glorious on the holiday table than a nice big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes?  Probably not a lot in any case! When I was growing up the holiday meal meant one thing, aside from the turkey, and that was mashed potatoes.  Fluffy, light and buttery, soft and indulgent.In the UK you are more likely to find crisp Roast Potatoes on the holiday table, but here in North America, it almost always will be mashed.  And why not? They go with just about anything.   A lot of people might feel that making mashed potatoes is a bit of a daunting task and even be afraid that a bowl of hot perfect creamy mashed potatoes will elude them.  I am going to try to dispel all the mystery this morning surrounding mashed potatoes, with all of my hints and tips in an effort to help you make the best-mashed potatoes ever this holiday season, and indeed any season or time of the week or year! 

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

WHAT KIND OF POTATO DO YOU NEED TO MAKE PERFECT CREAMY MASHED POTATOESThe first thing you want to bear in mind when planning on making mashed potatoes is that you use the right potato for the job.  Choosing the right potato can make a huge difference when it comes to mashed potatoes.You want a nice floury potato, one with a high starch, low water content. That rules out new potatoes. You want an old potato for mashed potatoes.Ideally in North America that would be either a Russet or a Yukon Gold potato. In the UK, you will want a Maris Piper or a King Edward.  WHAT IS THE RIGHT TOOL TO USE TO MAKE MASHED POTATOESYou also need the right tool to use for mashing them.  Some people prefer a ricer (which is the tool on the left) whilst others are happy to use a dedicated potato masher (the tool on the right).Still yet, others like to mash their potatoes using an electric hand whisk.If you want perfectly smooth, lump free potatoes, use a potato ricer. If you are not bothered by a few lumps, then use a potato masher or the electric hand whisk.  All of these tools do an excellent job.

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

HOW TO MAKE PERFECT CREAMY MASHED POTATOES For four people, you will need to peel about 5 1/2 pounds of the floury potatoes.  Cut them into evenly sized chunks. Evenly sized chunks will cook in the same amount of time as each other.
Place the potatoes into a saucepan of cold, lightly salted water and bring them to the boil. Once they come to the boil, reduce to a quick simmer, cover and cook, until just tender.  A fork should pierce them easily.   Drain the potatoes at once.   Return the drained potatoes to the saucepan and shake them a bit over the residual heat of the burner. Leave to dry, shaking them every 30 seconds or so.  
Once your potatoes are fairly dry, put them through a potato ricer if you have one, or mash well with a potato masher.  

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

 You want to have ready some cream into which you have melted  a good knob of butter. Continue to mash the potatoes adding the cream and butter mixture slowly until you have the consistency you want.   
Season to taste with some salt, pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional).  If your mash is too stiff, you can stir in a bit more warm milk.  

CAN YOU MAKE MASHED POTATOES AHEAD?

Yes, absolutely! You can can make mashed potatoes ahead of time and even freeze them if you need to. The tip for doing this successfully is to make sure that you don’t skimp on any of the butter or cream. It is the butter and cream which help the potatoes reheat well.

One of my favorite ways to reheat mashed potatoes is to just put them in the microwave (covered) for a couple minutes on high, giving them a good stir before serving. You can also put them into a slow cooker on low for a couple of hours, or reheat them in a covered casserole dish in the oven or over low heat in the top of a double boiler on the stovetop. Just stir occasionally, adding more butter and seasoning if needed to serve. 
To freeze mashed potatoes, line a casserole dish with some plastic cling film.  Put in the mashed potatoes, cover, cool completely and then place into the freezer until frozen solid.
Remove from the freezer, remove from the dish.  Triple wrap in more cling film, pop into a large zip lock baggie, and return to the freezer. You can keep them frozen for up to two weeks this way.  This is ideal for holiday meals when we are all stressed to the max and are wanting ways to utilize our time more efficiently. The more we can do ahead of time the better!
You can re-warm the frozen mashed potatoes either from the frozen state or thaw them out first. Either way, unwrap them and pop the frozen block back into the initial casserole that you froze them in. (I like to butter it first.)
Place, covered into the refrigerator to thaw the night before, or cook directly from frozen, remembering that it will take considerably longer to reheat from the frozen state, so add an additional 25 minutes or so to the cook time, and give them a good stir halfway through. 
Reheat, covered, in a moderate oven, until they are completely heated through. If you think they are a bit watery, just stir in some more butter and cream, but not too much because you don’t want them to be too loose. There are many ways you can dress up mashed potatoes as well if you don’t want to keep them plain. You can stir in cheese and allow it to melt.  You can also stir in chopped chives or spring onions (scallions.)Mom always added a tiny bit of finely minced or grated cooking onion and we loved it.Some people like to add a bit of sour cream which gives them a lovely tang, and other people like to use buttermilk instead of cream. People who are watching their weight might use only milk and eschew the cream altogether.Personally, its the holidays and so I say bring on the cream!  And the butter! But then, I am a bit of a glutton!

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

  Today I serve them with a grilled smoked pork chop and a variety of vegetables for a simple supper.   For the holidays of course you will be serving them with either a roast turkey or ham, beef, etc. These are the best mashed potatoes and delicious served with a pat of butter melting on top, or with a slight hollow in the middle designed to cup some of your delicious gravy.Enjoy!  Enjoy! Enjoy!!

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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Perfect Creamy Mashed PotatoesYield: 2Author: Marie RaynerPrep time: 10 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 35 MinThere is nothing so wonderful as a nice bowl of hot fluffy mashed potatoes sitting on the table to go with whatever.Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound (340g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS heavy cream
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS milk (or as needed)
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes, rinse and cut into large chunks. Place into a saucepan and cover with lightly salted cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce to a quick simmer and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork tender.
  3. Warm the cream and butter together in the microwave while the potatoes are cooking, just until the butter melts.
  4. When the potatoes are done, drain them really well and then return to the saucepan. Shake the saucepan over the residual heat of the burner to dry them out really well. Pour the cream and butter over the potatoes.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes, adding only as much milk as needed to give you the proper consistency. You want light and fluffy. Do not over-mash or you risk them having a glue-like texture. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve hot.
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The English Kitchen
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