Not Martha, need good mash potato recipe

caligalNovember 21, 2011

Ok, I am not an awesome cook, but I can be creative & make my own substitutions and additions to any recipe to make it yummy.

Here is the problem, I have been asked to make the mashed potatoes for thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house (who could fill in for Martha Stewart in a pinch).

I need a REALLY awesome recipe for the potatoes. I will be practicing tomorrow. There are no dietary restrictions and I don't care about the calories or fat (although my Sis may).

Does anyone have a tried and true recipe? One that everyone raves about and the bowl is scraped for every last bite?

Thank you all! First post here, but have visited other forums for the past few years. I usually go to and spend hours reading reviews. Thought I would give this a try.

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I've made the Pioneer Woman's 'make ahead' recipe more then a couple of's very good. I always make them a day before and reheat them in a crockpot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mashed potatoes with LOTS of calories

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:06PM
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I use this one:

Thanksgiving Potatoes from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook.
Makes 8 servings

9 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the diced potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until tender; drain. Place the potatoes in a mixer bowl. Cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces and add to the potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the sour cream. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or reheat in a buttered casserole at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.

My changes: I pasted this from a site where I found it. I always hand mash my mashed potatoes so they don't get gummy and I use Yukon Golds, not russets. They have more flavor.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:24PM
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The potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese have been a staple at our Thanksgiving and Christmas for years.

The beauty, is that they can be made the day before and warmed up.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:36PM
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For my crew.....which amounts to about 8 potato eaters (Sorry Vincent!) I do 3 pounds of Russets, cut into inch cubes and boiled in water to cover with 2 or 3 cloves of gralic....salt the water lightly.
3 pounds russets
3 cloves of garlic
when they are very tender but short of falling apart....I drain them and put them back into the pota nd leave a lot fire under them to dry them out a but while the butter is melting,
1/2 a stick of butter
And I am beginning to mash. I don't like mashed potatoes donew ith an electric mixer....I think they can be gluey and a bit gummy....I use one of those old fashioned zig zag wire potato mashers.

The potatoes are still in the pot over a low fire.....add half and half. while you continue to mash.... I wish I could tell you how much....but I can't....go by the texture of your potatoes....probably 2/3 of a cup.
half and half 2/3 cup
Keep mashing...when the potatoes begin to dry a little on the outside of the pot, turn off the fire....add sour cream...about half a cup\
sour cream, half a cup
....don't measure, I just use about half the carton....taste....add salt and lots of black pepper as you see fit.
I only add the cream cheese if I am going to store them and re-heat in the oven.....and then I often add chopped chives and some grated parm to the top.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Wow! So the cream cheese & lots o butter seem to be the way to go.

Now that I clicked on maddielee's link, I want some now!!!! Great site by the way, thank you.

I have heard to start the potatoes in the water and then boil. Anyone do this?

When to add salt.? Salt water when boiling or add salt when mashing?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:03PM
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Another vote for Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes. Yup Yup Giddy Yup!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:13PM
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In order for the potatoes to cook evenly start them on cold water and bring to a boil.

Salting is easier if you salt the water----once it comes to a boil.
If you salt anything before the water boils, you can pit the bottom of the pot. You know those little marks that you can't rub off?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:50PM
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I start my potatoes in cold water just because it's easier to toss the potatoes into a pot as I cut them up....I don't worry about pitting my pan...I use stainless....and salt after the potatoes are in the water.
Pioneer woman probably learned from me!!....that's exactly how I make my potatoes.....when I will be making them ahead and reheating. But usually I just serve them up...and don't put the cream cheese in them....just some sour cream for tang!
And I add garlic, not seasoning salt.....and my pepper is from a grinder.
But she's right on with heating them after draining and with using a zig zag masher.....I mean mashed potatoes are MASHED aren't they? Not whipped.....which is something different.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:52PM
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Off to buy a masher... My bean masher probably won't work that well.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 5:12PM
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Another vote for Pioneer Womans make ahead potatoes.

Best mashed potatoes I have ever had.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:28PM
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A good rule of thumb with any vegetable is to start root vegetables in cold water and to drop all the others into boiling water. So, potatoes go in cold water.
Whatever recipe you choose, I have found that adding the fat to the potatoes first as you mash them, coats the starch with fat so it is less likely to become gluey when you add the liquid.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:33PM
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good to know collenoz!

just put the taters in the pot now.
test run for Thursday.
trying out Pioneer Woman's recipe.
will report back w/ results!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:59PM
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For cryin' out loud; we're talking mashed potatoes here. Yes, I know, its Thanksgiving and stuff is supposed to be special, but the point of mashed potatoes is to support the turkey gravy. You are making real gravy, I hope?

I read the Pioneer Woman link to see what you all were talking about. Sounds like fun if I wasn't just going to put that bodacious gravy on it. Obviously I'm just like her Marlboro Man and could probably be happy with all that extra work, but why bother.

Thanksgiving is for gravy, stuffing, (and desert if there is an after dinner walk involved) and friends/relatives. Two or three of you chat in the kitchen while peeling some potatoes that you boil, drain, salt, pepper, BUTTER, and milk (ok, ok 1/2 & 1/2). Then you mash as the gravy hits the boat.

And speaking of mashing, what are you using there lindac and others? Linda, I'm not that great a cook but as far as I can tell, you are always right and support all your info. I rely on you and I am 'shocked, shocked I say' that you are using that 19th century lump generating anathema to ergonomics. The stamped metal (usually circular) device with approx. equal space for holes and mashing surface, does a far faster and superior job.

OK I'm done now. Just hopping to give you more time to work on all the other fancy deserts and stuff.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:27PM
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my mom is making the gravy.... I am just responsible for the potatoes.

Believe it or not there are 5, yes 5, people who don't like gravy! Can one imagine?!

So the mashed potatoes must be awesome all on their own.

Just put them in the oven and i must report, I ate a serving before they even got in the oven! delicious!!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I think everyone likes my mashed potatoes; they treat them like whipped gold, there's never any left and they get lots of compliments, but I "mash" them in the KA mixer.
The secret is to dry them out really well in the pot after draining. I melt butter and milk together then add that slowly while mixing.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:55PM
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lindac must not realize that our ancestors were never least as far as making mashed potatoes.....gotta be that zig-zag thingy and preferably with a wooden handle and a bit of pea green paint clinging to the handle.
Those circular things with the holes are only good to use when the potatoes are waaaay over cooked and mushy....or for mashing berries for jam.
And I am sure with you that it's all about GRAVY....I mean if not for gravy might as well make a potato casserole....
OOPS....that's what some are talking about.
And as far as out dated 19th century cooking utensils?? hell! I was born in the 19th century.....well not really, but I sure do use old wooden bowls and rolling pins....I mean I am just now gettin' around to using that newfangled thing with the TV screen and the type writer in front!
Long live gravy!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Hmm I've never tried the method of heating the potatoes while mashing, that makes sense.

As a strict vegetarian, I firmly believe mashed potatoes need to stand on their own! Proper mashed potatoes are amazing in their naked glory and it always makes me mad when people ruin perfectly good potatoes with gravy. :)

I've tried vegetarian gravy but it's either incredibly time consuming or very bleh and not worth the extra calories.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:46PM
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"----I need a REALLY awesome recipe for the potatoes. I will be practicing tomorrow. ------------"

If that's what you want, you may want to try out this method, which is based on the science of potato starch behavior known as "retrogradation" to avoid having mashed potato becoming either a lumpy or a gluey mess, essentially a delicious wallpaper paste.


BTW, you should not use a blender or mixer. Do it by hand.

Heston Blumenthal : how to make perfect mashed potato every time.

� 1kg/2 1/4lb charlotte potatoes
� 1 tbsp salt
� 300g/10 1/2oz cold butter, cut into cubes
� warm milk, to taste

Preparation method

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2.5cm (1in) slices. Run the slices under cold water to wash off surface starch. Heat a large pan of water until it reaches a temperature of 80C/175F (you'll need to use a good-quality heat thermometer, with the probe placed in the water. Add the potatoes and simmer for half an hour being careful to maintain the temperature at 70C/160F. Drain the potato slices and run them under cold water until completely cool.

2. Rinse the pan and refill with cold water. Salt the water and bring it to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the cooked, cooled potatoes and cook until soft. Drain the potatoes, then place them back in the pan. Shake the pan over a gentle heat to get rid of any remaining water.

3. Tip the potatoes into a ricer and rice the potatoes over a bowl containing the cold butter. Push the buttery riced potatoes through a fine-meshed drum sieve for a silky, light texture. You can prepare the puree in advance up to this stage and store it in the fridge. To serve, reheat it gently in a pan, while gradually whisking in a little warm milk


    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:02PM
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Thanks dcarch for posting, but we have our winner.

My husband, son (who has never liked mashed potatoes ever), & I throughly enjoyed the mashed potatoes and they came out PERFECT. Followed maddielee's link and made the PW's recipe. Didn't even need gravy.... used yukon gold potatoes and they were fluffy and yummy and not sticky at all.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:49PM
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I'll second the potato ricer. Makes the best tatoes.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 2:50AM
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I agree. There isn't a better way to mash potatoes than to use a potato ricer. I hate lumpy mash potatoes and that is never a problem with a ricer.

Rice, add butter and cream give a stir and perfect mashed potatoes every time.

Of course, the type of potato matters too. I use russet potatoes.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 8:35AM
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I looked at a ricer and it is pretty small. Does it take forever to rice the potatoes?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:36PM
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No, it makes quick work of ricing a big pot of potatoes. Once riced just add your butter and cream and stir.

You do want to choose the right ricer though. You want a "French " Ricer. It is angled which makes it easier to force the potatoes through the holes. I would not recommend the round style. It is a PITA.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Thanks Ann for pics and info!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:50PM
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You are very welcome Caligal.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 8:57PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm glad I haven't bought a ricer yet, this reminded me that I need to get the French style. Thanks too Ann!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 9:16PM
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I see a lot of cooks using those food mills. Would one of those do the same thing as a ricer?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 12:19AM
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I'm old fashioned... OK and old. Mashed potatoes should be potatoes - mashed. I don't need the FAS (Fat American Syndrome) version of recipes where everything needs to have cheese and sugar on it to taste good. If you have good gravy (and it's unAmerican to not) then you don't even need the extra fat in the potatoes, since there's plenty of fat (and probably salt & pepper too) in the gravy. For potatoes by themselves, they can add a dab of butter and seasoning. Plain is often great by itself. Course good fries don't need ketchup either. The ones that have to FAS the taters could just as well use instants and save time. They're eating it for the cheese, sugar and other stuff, since apparently they don't like the taste of potatoes. I don't need FAS veggies, beverages, breads and the like either. Good food can stand on its own IMO. Pass the sugar bowl when old 300# Beulah needs her feet swelled up like soccer balls. But that's my opinion.

A ricer is fine and a good tool for making lefse but mashed potatoes still need to be mashed with the zig-zag masher otherwise they resemble a big tater tot. I don't bother with it for mashed potatoes. Again, I want mashed potatoes, not riced potatoes, not beaten potatoes. If you're going to use a mixer to beat the taters to death and make them extra gummy, then serve boiled potatoes to me and I'll mash them with a fork! And for the people who think the mashed (riced, beat or instant) potatoes need to drip off the fork so they can say they're "creamy" UGH! Potatoes aren't supposed to drip. You make a well and fill it with gravy. We're not talking about potato soup. End of rant.

The thing about starting potatoes in cold water as I understand is that the hot water sets almost a skin on the outside of the potato so the texture will be off. Can't prove it but I always found it easier to start cold and work up. I tried using hot tap water to start (to save energy) until I heard the thing to start cold. There might be something to it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:57PM
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