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Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Great lashings of butter and cream can make your mashed potatoes rich, but it takes technique to make them rich and creamy.

by: Meredith Butcher

source: Cooks Illustrated – holiday entertaining

Famous French Potatoes

When I started researching ultra-rich mashed potatoes, one name kept appearing: Joel Robuchon. Robuchon, a celebrated French chef with a constellation of Michelin stars to his credit, owes much of his fame to his not-so-humble mashed potatoes, which inspire nearly religious reverence. Robuchon says that he simply mixes equal parts (by volume) potato (any variety but moist-textured redskins) and cold butter with a little hot milk and whips them smooth. It sounds too good to be true – and it is. When I tried this approach, my potatoes turned out gluey and so buttery i could barely make it through a couple of spoonfuls. Clearly there’s a recipe that he chooses to dispense and the real recipe he keeps close. i would too if it paid my bills and made me famous. Unsurprisingly, Robuchon has a host of imitators, some of whom spend their time finessing the details of his recipe. I tried a few of these recipes – and read all the discussions online – and learned a few important things. First, there is such a thing as too much butter. I much preferred the recipes that attained richness via combination of butter and half-and-half or heavy cream. Second, waxy Yukon Golds turned into creamier mashed potatoes than Idahos. And third, avoid an electric hand held mixer at all costs. I quickly found that the more i processed the potatoes, the less structure they had. The best results occurred when I pressed the cooked potatoes through a food mill or ricer.

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

serves 8 to 10

Note: Waxy-textured Yukon Gold potatoes produce the creamiest mash.

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
method:
  1. cut potatoes into 3/4 inch slices. place potatoes in colander and rinse under running water, tossing with hands, for 30 seconds. transfer potatoes to Dutch oven, add water to cover by 1 inch, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. meanwhile, heat butter and heavy cream in small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, about 5 minutes. keep warm.
  3. drain potatoes and return to Dutch oven. stir over low heat until potatoes are thoroughly dried, 1 to 2 minutes. set ricer or food mill over large bowl and press or mill potatoes into bowl. Gently fold in warm cream mixture and salt with rubber spatula until cream is absorbed and potatoes are thick and creamy. serve.