My claim to fame in cooking school wasn’t my amazing knife skills or my ability to flip the perfect omelet. No, I was an ace potato dryer. Seriously. My proudest moment in my culinary school career came, not when I graduated with honors, but when my chef instructor announced to the class that I seemed to have a “natural ability” to dry out potatoes. Apparently this is my super power — saving the world from dense mashed potatoes.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
Drying out potatoes gets rid of any excess moisture the potatoes may have absorbed during boiling. To dry them out, drain the potatoes and return them to the pot you cooked them in. With the heat on low, stir the potatoes for 1-2 minutes. I like to mash them right in the pan. It saves time and mashing the potatoes over the heat helps any remaining moisture evaporate away quickly. Taking the time to dry the potatoes will give your mashed potatoes a light, fluffy texture.
Tips for Making Great Mashed Potatoes:
1. Choose the Right Potatoes: Mealy potatoes are best for mashed potatoes. They have lots of starch, which you need for texture, and not a lot of moisture. Russets and purple potatoes are great choices.
2. Spice It Up: Add additional spices or herbs to the cream for additional flavor.
Seasoning to Taste (This is especially important because unseasoned, or underseasoned, potatoes taste like air.)
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- pinch nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place potatoes in a medium pot and add just enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the potatoes until fork-tender, 12- 15 minutes.
- While potatoes cook, combine cream, garlic and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil them immediately reduce heat so the cream simmers for 10-12 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
- Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Return potatoes back to the pot and with the pan on low heat, mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Remove from heat and gradually stir in warm cream, using potato masher to break up the smashed garlic cloves.
- Add the butter, stirring until it melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
- Serves 4.