Even though all the little extras added into a recipe sure can make it unique and tasty, there are times when getting back to basics and keeping things a little more unadulterated and simple, like these Best Basic Mashed Potatoes, is the most delicious and comforting way to go.
Anyone who has frequented The Cozy Apron over the years probably knows by now that what I like to do is put a little spin or “twist” of my very own on just about every recipe that I develop.
It's kinda like a stamp that says, “Ingrid was here.”
I like adding bells and whistles, the little extras or unexpected additions, to a recipe that is familiar in hopes of making it uniquely my own and just a touch more “cozy”, shall we say. Plus, it's just fun for me to find different ways of presenting familiar things!
It's how my creativity works, and what gets me excited to recipe develop in the first place.
But then there are times when keeping something simple and perfectly delicious in its more natural, basic state is the best way to go; and mashed potatoes are one such item on a dinner table that can very easily get away with staying “basic”, if done right.
In full disclosure, I actually did want to go all out with a mashed potato recipe that had lots of tasty extras added into the mix.
There. I admit it!
I figured with the holidays right around the corner, you'd would want a crazy, loaded up recipe that would knock the socks off of the guests at your dinner table so that they'd tell you that you are the best mashed potato-maker they've ever met, and that they've never tasted such exquisite and amazing mashed potatoes anywhere!
(Or, perhaps it's just that keeping things more on the simple or “basic” side is not something that is particularly germane to me—you decide.)
But leave it to my husband to, once again, be the voice of reason (I'm detecting a theme here) when it comes to reigning things in and putting a finger on the pulse of what people may actually want around this time year, which is the BEST basic mashed potato recipe, one that everyone can enjoy, both kids and adults, picky eaters and not-so-picky eaters alike.
And I think hubs is right on this one...
A basic mashed potato recipe is something that can be prepared and shared whether the occasion is special, or not. It is a recipe where the potatoes are the star, and the add-ins are the supporting characters there to add a touch of creaminess and texture, and create a consistency that will be light and fluffy on the tongue.
And these mashed potatoes are definitely that: light and fluffy.
It seems that most mashed potato recipes call for russet potatoes, which are perfectly fine potatoes that I enjoy very much, and often use in my soup recipes.
But here's a little secret: I don't typically use them for my mashed potatoes. (For Shepherd's Pie, yes, but otherwise, no.)
I use the same potatoes that my momma used when she would prepare her delicious mashed potatoes, and I've never tasted better ones than hers. (I Love you, Mom!)
She uses waxy, red-skin potatoes, typically peeled, which give a lighter and creamier texture to the mashed potatoes rather than a starchier, heavier one.
They melt away on the tongue, and are never heavy and dry.
So for all of you wonderful people who are looking to keep things deliciously simple and basic, this one's for you: the best basic mashed potato recipe!
And may everyone at your dinner table this season (and every other) enjoy a big, heaping spoonful of these babies and say to you, “Wow! These are the best mashed potatoes I've ever had!”
And best of all? No bells and whistles needed!
Getting back to basics sure tastes good. 😉
Taste what's good and pass it on.
The Best Basic Mashed Potatoes
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8
• 5 pounds red-skin potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
• 4 tablespoons sour cream
• ¼ cup half & half
-Place the cubed potatoes into a medium-large pot, and cover them with cold water by about and inch; add enough salt into the pot so that the water tastes well-seasoned, like the ocean.
-Place the potatoes over high heat and bring to the boil; then, reduce the heat slightly to medium or medium-high, and allow the potatoes to gently boil/simmer for about 22-25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
-Place the lid over the pot slightly askew and carefully drain the potatoes of the water; place the potatoes back onto low heat, uncovered now, and allow them to “dry” out, or evaporate out more of the water, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
-Off the heat, add in the room temp butter and the sour cream, and using a masher, mash the potatoes well until very smooth; drizzle in the half and half, slowly, until a creamy, fluffy consistency is reached (you may need a little more or a little less, depending, really, on your preference) and mash again until completely smooth and lump free.
-Check the salt level and add a little more, if necessary; keep covered and serve hot.