Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food.
Rich and creamy, they act as a base and a foil for so many wonderful cold weather dishes. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to mash spuds. Over the years, I’ve tried many methods.
The Potato Masher:
These days, I generally precook peeled and quartered organic Yukon Gold potatoes in my Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker with just a little water. When they are soft, I drain the potatoes and reach for my basic hand held potato masher. With that tool in hand, I bang away at the steaming potatoes, adding milk, butter, salt and pepper as necessary. I think this method is the quickest and simplest way to crank out a good bowl of mashed potatoes. My children enjoy the potatoes made this way, and I find that the clean up is pretty simple and straightforward.
The Hand Held Mixer
When I was growing up, my mom used a hand held mixer to make mashed potatoes. This worked okay too, but I always thought the mixer spewed a few too many potato specks into the air while I was mashing…maybe it was just my technique at the time.
Back in 1999, when I wrote a cookbook review column for The Wall Street Journal, I tested a recipe for mashed potatoes using the method from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. The potatoes were cooked in their skins and ultimately passed through a tamis, or fine flat sieve, by hand. The end result was sheer smooth perfection, but the technique was a bit too time consuming for a family weekday dinner.
The Food Processor
As many of you know, I am a huge fan of the food processor. But, when it comes to mashed potatoes, this is the one time when I will emphatically tell you to stay away from the food processor. The high power of the motor turns the potatoes into glue!!
So, what are your favorite tools and methods for mashing spuds?
–Melissa A. Trainer