Easy Mashed Potatoes. What’s the secret to great mashed potatoes? Everyone has their own preference. For me, it’s the additions! Stir in some shredded cheese, fresh chopped herbs, diced ham, roasted garlic puree, caramelized shallots, pureed roasted red pepper, diced jalapenos, or just some some softened cream cheese and you have a whole new flavor going! My Easy Mashed Potatoes are simple to create and customize to your liking.
My basic recipe for mashed potatoes is easily modified to your own tastes. Serve these mashed potatoes with a slice of meatloaf, top with some hearty gravy, add some peas or green beans on the side and you’ve got a meal in itself!
You can use many different types of potatoes. I prefer either Yukon Gold, russet, or red potatoes. Select firm potatoes, not those that are soft or mushy or have a green tinge. And no sprouted “eyes,” please.
For a more “rustic” mashed potato, you can leave some of the skin on. When using red potatoes, I prefer to leave some skin on the potatoes for color and texture. Be sure to wash the potatoes well if you are not going to peel them. No one likes gritty mashed potatoes!
To prepare the mashed potatoes, I usually use a handheld potato masher. Some cooks prefer to use a potato ricer. Either way is fine, as long as you’ve peeled the potatoes. The potato masher is useful if your potatoes were not peeled.
Whisk your mashed potatoes for extra fluffiness.
Mashed potatoes go nicely with almost any meaty dish! They’re also tasty with some cremini mushroom gravy on a vegetarian plate.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
One 5 lb bag of potatoes
1/2 c heavy cream and more or less to achieve desired consistency
1/2 to 1 whole stick butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened, and cut into pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Other additions (see Variations)
1. Wash and peel potatoes.
2. Place peeled potatoes in a bowl covered with cold water and let soak for 15 mins to bring out some of the starch.
3. Drain and rinse potatoes.
4. Place drained potatoes in a pot large enough to hold them with some empty room at the top.
5. Fill the pot with water, enough to cover the potatoes by at least an inch.
6. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes or so.
7. Drain the potatoes and leave in the pot.
8. This is my secret step: Put the pot with the drained potatoes back on the stove over high heat. Stir the potatoes well and quickly over the heat, ensuring that most or all of the liquid has evaporated without browning or burning the potatoes. This will result in a drier, fluffier potato.
9. When the liquid inside the pot has evaporated, remove the potatoes and pot from the heat. Mash or rice the potatoes with the potato masher or ricer to get most of the lumps out.
10. Add the butter, the cream cheese, and the heavy cream to the potatoes in the pot, and, using a wire whisk, combine the mixture until smooth and creamy.
11. Thin with more cream, or add more cream cheese to thicken — depending on your preference. Do not overprocess the mashed potatoes or they might get gummy.
12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 6 as a side dish depending on how many mashed potato lovers are partaking.
Variations: There are many additions to mashed potatoes to totally change their basic flavor. Instead of cream cheese, mix in a cup or two of your favorite shredded cheese, such as smoked gouda, cheddar, parmesan, or Monterey Jack. Add a 1/4 cup of a minced herb, such as basil or chives or tarragon. Add a cup of finely-chopped ham. To lighten the recipe, use milk or half-and-half instead of the cream, and use less butter. I’ve omitted the butter and cream and used only a bit of olive oil in the past, and it still makes a great mashed potato.
If you happen to have leftovers: These potatoes will freeze well in a plastic container for up to 3 months. Just thaw them out overnight in the fridge so they’re pliable and not frozen solid. Heat with a bit of milk. Also, as a breakfast side dish, form cold mashed potatoes into small patties and fry in butter or oil until browned. Great with scrambled eggs and bacon.
I serve these easy mashed potatoes with a number of main dishes and in several variations. See my favorites:
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