There is nothing like creamy mashed potatoes nestling up to your main dish. They are the easiest accessory I know. Cook up an entire 5 lb bag while you’re at it. Leftover mashers can safely last up to five days in the refrigerator if they have been cooled and stored in an airtight container. They will last much longer if frozen, anywhere from one month to a year, although taste quality will drop considerably with longer storage. This is the basic recipe. I’ll continue to update with fun twists, so keep checking back!
5 lbs russet, yukon gold or red potatoes
Note: this is where you get to experiment with tastes and textures. Russets are starchiest and hold their fluffy shape the best. Yukon golds have a wonderful creamy texture. And the reds? Hands down, best flavor.
1 cup half and half (you may substitute lower fat milk if you wish)
1 stick unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and quarter. Toss into large pot and cover with water at least an inch over potatoes. Cover and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to keep a steady simmer. Potatoes should cook in about half an hour, but test with a fork after 20 minutes or so. Consistency should be firm, not soggy, and separate easily with the fork. Drain water from pot.
In the meantime, heat half and half and butter in small pot on low until butter melts. Stir and remove from heat.
Mash potatoes with masher (I love my Zyliss masher; its metal twists separate the chunks and create small lumps of potato, keeping the flavor together.) Gradually add milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition to incorporate solids, allowing the starch to absorb the liquid. Continue adding liquid until desired texture is reached.
Note: if you are planning on freezing the leftovers, it’s better to use more liquid so the mashers don’t dry out.
Mashers can remain in pot, covered, until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, or https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.