What you’re looking at are riced russet potatoes (not actually rice). It’s a step before whuupin’ em with butter and milk to make mmmm mashed potatoes. While volunteering this week at Project Angel Food, we prepped 250 lbs. of potatoes for Chef Adrian. Then, they were cooked in a humongous brazier, mashed in a monstrous Hobart, portioned, packed and delivered by loving volunteers to 1300 homebound, terminally ill clients. That’s a lot of prep, and I was hankerin’ for mashed potatoes once home.
Holiday time, spuds will be smashed. I follow Shirley Corriher’s advice, having collected several clips of her comments on the subject. You know about Shirley, right? You see her popping up around Alton Brown on his show, but I hope you realize, Shirley is THE rock star food scientist. She knows everything, such as the following:
SHIRLEY CORRIHER, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking — “Everybody waits to do the mashed potatoes last,” says Shirley Corriher. The reasoning: if you do them last, they won’t have time to cool off. But once you get through all that stirring, they’re never really hot.” Think about it: You’re stirring all that nice, cool kitchen air into the mashed potatoes. “The big secret is to do them ahead,” Corriher says. “I make them a bit juicier than I finally want them to be.” Then reheat them in the oven for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. “If you heat them,” Corriher says, “they will stay piping hot during the whole meal.”
Most experts use a ricer (Patti does) for the lightest, fluffiest, smoothest mashed potatoes. The hand-held device works like a garlic press, pushing the potatoes through holes small enough to break up the lumps but not so fine the potatoes become a gummy mess.
Absolutely DO NOT USE A FOOD PROCESSOR, Corriher says. It breaks up the granules and releases massive amounts of starch, turning your dish into wallpaper paste.
You can also produce perfectly good mashed potatoes with a hand-held mixer, a manual masher or a food mill. Avoid overbeating. Besides, some people consider lumps a sign of authenticity.
Taste for salt before serving. White pepper adds kick without the distraction of black specks.
PATTI’S METHOD IS SIMPLE: plan for 1/2 large russet potato per person. Peel potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks, place in deep pot and add water to an inch above the potatoes. Salt generously, bring water to a boil, reduce heat slightly but still have them boiling. When fork-tender, drain, then use a ricer or masher, smash with generous quantities of butter and milk until blended. Make them a little WETTER than you want at serving time. Then cover and place in a warm oven or warming drawer until serving time.
Have a link to a great mashed potato recipe, like these? Send via comment and I’ll add to the list:
- Bacon Cheddar Mashers
- Mashed Potatoes – Getting Them Right
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes
- Easy, Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Spud Sunday Good at Mash