The secret lies in the amount of starch released when it comes to mashed potatoes. Release too much and potatoes become gummy. That’s why expert chefs prefer the following technique, which calls for ricing potatoes instead.
Begin with cold water
Put peeled, cut potatoes in a saucepot filled with cold water. (Adding cold potatoes to hot water can result in lumpiness.) Bring water to a boil over high heat. Then lower heat to medium, bringing water to a simmer. Cover; cook until tender. Drain well.
Use a ricer instead of mashing
Rather than mashing cooked potatoes, which can lead to gumminess because of the massive amounts of starch it releases, gently push them through a ricer. Ricing is less damaging and ruptures fewer cells, so less starch is released, and potatoes end up being light and fluffy.
Gently fold the ingredients
Another key to limiting the release of starch in mashed potatoes is how other ingredients are added. Again, a light touch is called for. Gently fold in, rather than press butter, warm milk and additional ingredients, using a sweeping downward and upward motion.
Mashed Potato Ideas
- Fold in a diced onion, chopped fresh sage, a grated carrot and several chopped steamed cabbage leaves.
- Fold in a bit of roasted garlic and chopped fresh rosemary.
- Substitute sour cream for half of the milk, and fold in with chopped scallions and crumbled bacon slices.
- Add some grated parmesan to top your mashed potato side dish.
- For a meaty version, you may also add crushed bacon, bits of ham, pepperoni or sausages.
- To add a spicy taste, throw in some slices of jalapeno, crushed dried red pepper, or bell peppers strips.
- If you have left over mashed potatoes, you can modify them in the morning by mixing in ground beef, eggs, onions, salt, and pepper to suite your taste then fry them as small patties.
Horseradish Mashed Potato
3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 cup milk, warmed
¼ cup milk, warmed
½ cup butter, melted
3 Tbs. prepared horseradish
2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
In a large saucepot over high heat, bring potatoes and enough water to cover to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Drain using a potato ricer, push potatoes in batches through ricer into a large serving bowl. Fold in warmed milk, butter, horseradish and chives. Season with salt and pepper.