Mashed potato is the simplest of foods yet surprisingly easy to get wrong. It also spans the gamut from nursery food to fine dining. A basic recipe makes a comforting and warming feast, while more sophisticated versions can be dainty and decorative when served up using piping bags. This recipe is not diet friendly but gives a deliciously creamy finish when using a hand held potato masher.
Mashed Potato Using a Potato Masher
You will need:
- Potato peeler
- Sharp knife
- Steamer saucepan
- Potato masher
To serve 4:
- 900g potatoes (Desiree or King Edward varieties are best for mashing)
- 1 heaped teaspoon of salt
- 50g butter
- 300ml hot milk
- 1 heaped dessertspoon of garlic and herb flavoured cream cheese
Peel the potatoes as thinly as possible and cut into medium sized chunks. For the best results, sprinkle the salt over the potatoes and cook in a steamer for about 25 minutes. Pierce with a skewer to make sure they are cooked in the centre to avoid lumpy mash.
When they are ready, add to a saucepan with the remaining ingredients and mash firmly until you reach a fluffy and creamy consistency. If the mixture seems a little stiff or dry, add a little more hot milk or a generous dribble of olive oil to soften up.
You can also make your mash more interesting by adding other vegetables – add sweet potato, swede, carrot or various other vegetables to your basic ingredients or try something Irish: there is colcannon, which is mashed potato with onion and cabbage, or champ, mashed potato with spring onions.
Potato Masher Shopping
Basic ingredients aside, the key to the dish is in the mashing. Some people like to save on elbow grease by using an electric whisk to mash their potatoes. This gives a very soft, completely lump-free finish, as do potato ricers, but the texture achieved by traditional potato mashers is more interesting. However if you are planning to serve your mashed potato decoratively through piping bags, the softer texture you get from electric whisks or ricers is easier to work with.
When it comes to classic potato mashers, pretty much the same end result is gained from most different kinds, so probably the most important thing to look for is a masher that fits your grip comfortably. Stick with something sturdy as some pressure is required while mashing to get a smooth finish. Always rinse the potato masher thoroughly as soon as you have finished using it, as trying to clean a masher full of dried up potato is no fun!