Mashed potatoes. The quintessential comfort food. There isn’t anything that a bowl of smashed up taters drenched in melted butter and bursting forth with gravy can’t make better. Chopped off your thumb in a woodworking accident? Here, have some mashed potatoes. Boyfriend dumped you for your best friend? Psh- not to worry. Have some mashed potatoes–and you get extra gravy. Didn’t get the winning lottery ticket? Aww, stop buying lottery tickets and buy potatoes instead. Why? Because you can make mashed potatoes with potatoes and you can only make a book mark or a redneck toothpick with a lottery ticket. It’s a no brainer, really.
I go in phases where I want my mashed potatoes like they were made by a cranky, beyond particular, French chef; where they are perfectly smooth, light, creamy, and divine. Other times, I just want the potato-y goodness as soon as possible and so I leave on the skins, and mash them by hand with a potato masher, leaving behind a few little lumps. It builds up the sexy biceps I’m working on, and I can take out any frustrations from the day on the taters. They don’t mind at all. They’re cool like that.
For as much as I love mashed potatoes I don’t make them often. It could be because I over eat them, which isn’t hard to do when pastured, melted butter, and my homemade gravy are making them taste oh so fantastic. Or, it could be because my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and then I go around feeling like I inhaled a brick for several hours after eating them and then I
want need a 3 hour nap. Whatever my subconscious reasons for not making these as often as you would think I should be based on my love of all things mashed potatoes, we don’t have them often, so when we do. It’s a real treat!
For me, the best mashed potatoes don’t come from a russet. GASP! They also don’t come from a Yukon Gold or a Baby Red potato. All of those will make a decent mashed potato, but I have found that a combination of 1 Russet to 2 Yukon Gold potato ratio makes the best, lightest, tastiest, perfect, shut the front door, these are bananas, mashed potatoes. You’ll leave your spouse for these potatoes. I mean, not that I wanna be known as a home wrecker, but better to be left for some mashed potatoes than for your best friend. Am I right? Course I am. 😉
The key to ensuring that these don’t get gummy or heavy is to really cook those potatoes well; in salted boiling water, and to warm the cream and butter. Never add cold cream, milk, butter, sour cream, cream cheese to hot potatoes. That’s a recipe for nasty right there. Gummy, heavy, gluey, not perfect mashed potatoes. You could hang wallpaper with those! Don’t make wallpaper paste potatoes people. It’s not nice.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I cook with a LOT of cream and butter. I’ve believed for some time that healthy saturated fats in the form of pastured, organic cream and butter are good for you and should be used with abandon in your cooking. I am one of those people that doesn’t feel well, or satiated unless I get enough fat in my meals. I’m not capable of losing weight, I lose hair, I can’t sleep, my body hurts, I can’t think straight–and the list goes on. I need fat. YOU need fat. Just eat the fat folks. Fat from cream, yogurt, eggs, butter, bacon— all good. Fat from doughnuts, processed, rancid vegetable oils, margarine, Oreos–not good. I promise.
Alright–in order to make this recipe you’ll need a few kitchen tools. I won’t buy a kitchen gadget unless it can be used for two or more things. Just like good ol’ Alton Brown. The man taught me well–Be careful for belching yeasty sock puppets, snarky French Chefs and cranky Kitchen store employees, and never, ever, ever buy a kitchen tool that is a uni-tasker. So I haven’t. You shouldn’t either.
Go-Go Kitchen Gadget
One of my favorite multitaskers is the glorious potato smasher. This little tool can squash avocados for guacamole, apples or other fruit for chunky fruit sauces, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ground beef… and it makes a great bath toy for my 6 year old grandson. He says it helps him stir up the bubbles.
You’ll also want a decent whisk to mix up the cream and butter mixture OR if you happen to be making some gravy. I prefer a balloon whisk for these tasks and although my whisks all stainless steel, I love the ergonomic handle of the one I feature below simply because it reduces wrist and arm fatigue while whisking. Which is great if, like me, you make your own mayo by hand!
When making mashed potatoes, it’s good to have a nice, sizable sturdy pot. All my pots have similar lips on them like the one below, which works well for dripless pouring which is important when you are dealing with boiling water. That pot can be used to fry up Real Food doughnut holes in coconut oil or French fries, it’s not just for boiling stuff. It’s a great pot that will last you a long time if properly cared for. Which means just hand wash it. No matter what the directions say.
Speaking of properly caring for stuff, I love those soapy wand sponge-thingies for doing my dishes. The one below makes easy cleaning of my whisk so that I don’t have to use that cute little spray attachment thing at my kitchen sink and make a mess of my counters with spraying water. It just makes washing dishes a little easier in my opinion. I think everyone should have one.
And a butter keeper. I’ve learned unless you want cold hard butter on your morning toast, this is essential to keeping room temperature butter fresh and mold-free if you are living in the south. Just trust me on this one. I exist if for no other reason than to warn you about things like moldy butter.
Ready to make some potatoes?
Do you like your mashed potatoes lumpy, smooth, or in between?
Here are the tools I mentioned above: (As a reminder any time you purchase something from Amazon using a link from my blog, I earn a very small commission, but it helps me keep the blog running. Without affiliate partnerships like these, I’d have to stop blogging. This does not raise the prices that you pay at checkout.)
- 2 large organic Russet Potatoes (Potatoes are on the dirty dozen list for excessive pesticide use, so buy organic when possible)
- 4 medium-small organic Yukon Gold potatoes (basically, two yukons should roughly be equal to the size of the russet)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground white pepper (or black if you prefer)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (preferably pastured/organic)
- 1/2 cups organic cream (may need up to 2/3 cup)
- Cut potatoes into one inch cubes. Leave the skins on.
- In a small saucepan add the stick of butter and the cream. Turn heat to low and allow the cream to warm and the butter to melt. Keep warm, but do not allow to boil.
- Place a 4-quart stock pot filled with cold water over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 tsp. of salt. Water should taste like the ocean.
- Add potatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly to prevent a spill-over and cook until a paring knife pierced into the flesh of several potatoes comes out cleanly. I wait until the skin is starting to separate from a few pieces. Then I know they're truly done.
- Turn off the burner, drain the potatoes and return pot and potatoes to the burner. Slowly add the cream and butter mixture a little at a time while mashing with your potato masher.
- Continue to alternate between pouring in the cream and butter mixture and mashing the potatoes to your desired consistency and level of lumpiness.
- Season with salt if necessary, but do add about 1/4 tsp of freshly ground white or black pepper, and stir well. Stir to combine and taste again. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve with gravy and extra butter.
- If you like your potatoes looser, add more cream. Just warm it slightly before adding to the potatoes. We like our rustic style mashed potatoes a little thicker than we prefer our skin off mashed potatoes.
- To make a tasty gravy, simply increase the pan sauce ingredients from my 30-minute pan seared pork chop recipe. (recipe here: http://www.realfoodgirlunmodified.com/30-minute-mondays-pork-chops-with-pan-sauce/)
- You'll need about 2-3 cups of chicken stock in total. To thicken the gravy, add a couple teaspoons of organic corn starch to 1/2 cup of stock and stir well, and drizzle into the pan sauce as it simmers. Using a whisk, vigorously whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pan sauce to ensure you don't get any lumps. If the gravy thickens too quickly, thin out with more stock or some water.
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