Food Thursday: let’s talk mashed potatoes

Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving. It’s one of those holidays that tend to be steeped in tradition and the same foods year after year. In many cases you only eat/make these foods once a year which is part of what makes them so special. This delicious holiday repetition presents a problem. Over the years, I have shared all of my traditional Thanksgiving contributions. (If you’re curious – I’ve set up links to them all at the bottom.)

So today I have decided to share some tips on mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are not food reserved just for the holidays – at least not in my house. However, they are the foundation of a Thanksgiving plate. (Literally, my husband will cover his plate with mashed potatoes and put everything else on top of them!)

People make mashed potatoes in many, many ways. I even make them in different ways depending on the flavor and style I’m going for. At Thanksgiving, I’m going for creamy and fluffy. Here are my tried & true potato tips:

1. Use Yukon Gold potatoes: they consistently make the fluffiest mashed potatoes

2. Don’t skimp on the butter but go easy on the milk. Let’s say I’m making a 2lb bag of mashed potatoes. I will use two sticks of softened butter. Plop them in the bowl and dump the hot, drained potatoes on top of the butter to melt it. I will then add milk in little bits as I am mashing the potatoes – that way I can control the consistency. How much milk? I never measure but I promise I never add more than 1/4 cup at a time.

3. Use a hand mixer. WHA?!? I can hear some of you screaming in protest. I agree, hand mashed potatoes lend a lovely rustic touch. A potato ricer can indeed produce a delicious side dish. But when it comes to Thanksgiving and the hectic, crowded kitchen it brings I want something fast and guaranteed to give me some fluffy spuds. The hand mixer never lets me down.

4. Seasonings. Here’s where things get interesting. Most times I am just a salt & pepper girl with the occasional dash of garlic powder. Other times I’ll sneak in a generous dollop of sour cream or goat cheese. Mmmmmm… and while digging around my recipe files, I came across this idea from Cooking Light. If I don’t try this on Thanksgiving, I can promise you I will be trying it out on my dinner table soon:

Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs potatoes
1/2 cup skim milk
2 TB butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

1. Peel and chop your potatoes, place them in a large pot just covered with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 15-20 minutes – until fork tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.

2. Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high 2 minutes or until butter melts. Add this milk mixture to potatoes. Mash (or mix with a hand mixer!) to desired consistency. Stir in buttermilk and remaining ingredients.

Thanksgiving Favorites

Have fun with your menu planning!

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2 thoughts on “Food Thursday: let’s talk mashed potatoes

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