Butter Mashed Potatoes

10 pounds of Idaho Potatoes ready to be peeled
all photography Blue Caleel

Potatoes will turn black if they are exposed to air, so be sure to keep 
them submerged in water at all times. (Except, of course, when chopping them.)
  Only take one or two of them out of the water at a time when chopping.  

Chopped Potatoes covered in fresh water and ready for the stove.

Add two tablespoons of kosher salt to the potatoes and water before they boil.

Creamed Potatoes with Butter and Parsley

For those of you making mashed potatoes for the first time, there are some super important techniques you should know about potatoes.

First:  Raw potatoes will turn black when exposed to air, so they must be submersed in water at all times.  I remember someone who painstakingly sliced potatoes for gratin the day before and put them in a bowl without water.  When she woke up to see all of her work ruined. Also, I've seen people boil potatoes in water and not put enough water in the pan to cover them.  The potatoes on top that are exposed to air turn black.

Second:  If you use a food processor for potatoes they will turn to glue.  Potatoes want minimal processing.  The ultimate way to mash potatoes is to use a food mill or a potato ricer.  This is slightly more involved because you must put the drained cooked potatoes in a bowl and then put them through the ricer instead of just using a hand masher.

A hand masher does work very well. This is how I learned to make them from my Finnish grandmother, and it is how I made them my entire life until I worked in a restaurant that used a food mill and realized those potatoes were fluffier and better.  Another alternative is a hand-mixer. This will work, but it can potentially make gluey potatoes like the food processor, especially if you overmix them. 

Potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and are very healthy for you.  They are very high in B6, Potassium, Copper, Vitamin C, and many other vitamins as well as being a good source of protein.  This comfort food favorite has also been linked to lowering blood pressure.  So enjoy!


Serves 10-12

This recipe can easily be cut in half and be made with 5 pounds of potatoes if you are serving a smaller group.

10 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled
Water, to cover potatoes
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 pound of unsalted butter (4 sticks)
1 cup whole milk (half and half or heavy cream or a combination of the two can be substituted.  DO NOT use low-fat nor non-fat milk.  If you want a lighter version of mashed potatoes you can use my recipe for buttermilk mashed potatoes )

Peel potatoes and submerge in water.

Fill a large stock pot half way up with water.  Cut potatoes into even sizes and place them in the water.  The goal is to have the potatoes cook evenly to prevent large pieces from being raw while small pieces might be overcooked and watery.  This is why having even pieces of potatoes is key.  (A large potato will need to be cut into 8 pieces, while a small potato will only need to be cut into 4 pieces.)

Add two tablespoons of kosher salt to the raw potatoes and cold water.  (Ignore anyone who tells you you have to wait and put salt in after the potatoes are cooked.  Putting the salt in in advance makes better potatoes.)

Cook the potatoes over medium-high heat until fork tender.  Do not overcook them; you will have watery, flavorless mashed potatoes.

The potatoes will cook faster if you put a lid on them.  Some people don't have lids for a big pot.  You can also do what we do at events and cover them with a sheet tray or with aluminum foil.  Or cook them uncovered, knowing it will just take a little longer.  

Drain the water off of the potatoes.  Use either a potato ricer (mentioned above) or a hand-masher to mash the potatoes.  Chop the butter into large chunks and let it melt into the hot potatoes while stirring it around.  Add the whole milk or heavy cream after you have added the butter.  Some people like to warm the milk or cream, but I'm usually in a hurry and don't have time for that. It works either way.

If you are making this recipe for Thanksgiving, my Turkey Gravy recipe is linked here.



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