Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Here on the blog, I am going to focus on some techniques to help readers cook their best Thanksgiving dinner ever. So here are a few tips on one delicious holiday staple- mashed potatoes.
First, you need to choose the right kind of potato- yukon golds are the, ahem, gold standard for mashed potatoes. They have just the right flavor and starch content to get the job done. Start by peeling and cutting them. It's important to cut your potatoes into a uniform size, so they cook evenly- if they're too big, the outside will turn to water-logged mush and the inside will still be hard and undercooked. Tough to make perfect mashed potatoes under those conditions. Shoot for chunks around an inch to an inch and a quarter. Start the potatoes in cold, salted water (it should taste like the ocean), bring them to a boil, and then turn them down. Simmer gently until they are fully tender, but not falling apart. Drain them. Put them in the oven. This gets them nice and dried out, so all of the liquid that then helps to make them creamy is full-flavored dairy, not leftover cooking water. Water is not delicious. Now you can get to mashing. A ricer works great, but if you need to use a hand or standing mixer, fine, just don't overdo it. Do not let your potatoes get cold (have you ever had really glue-y potatoes? They got cold. Don't let them get cold.) Work in lots of warm cream/milk/half&half and lots of melted butter, and don't be afraid to throw in something tangy-I love sour cream, but buttermilk is a nice addition, too. Season generously with salt and pepper, although salting the water initially means that the potatoes already have a flavor head start (good work). These tips should help you turn out some fantastic mashed potatoes, one of the cornerstones of your Thanksgiving meal, and worthy of some very fine gravy...next up on the blog.
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