Monday, October 8, 2012

Mashed Potato Master Class

Personally I think the humble mashed potato is one of the most underrated side dishes going around. When done properly, they add such a lot of flavour (and dare I say pleasure) to many dishes. Mash is also a perfect carrier for gravies and sauces. Mmmmm, mouth is watering judt think about it :)

The sad fact of the matter is that many of us do a pretty poor job of it. Hand on heart I have been one of the worst offenders serving up watery, tasteless, lumpy mush. But I have seen the error of my ways and I am on a mission to rid the dinner tables of the world of boring, icky mash.

Let me share with you some tips I have gathered to make irresistible mash.

1. Pick the Right Spud

It really does matter which variety of potato you use. Basically you are looking for a spud that has These days I like to use Cream Delight from Woolworths.

If in doubt, check the signs/packaging, this usually gives you a clue.

2. No Cutting

Cutting the potatoes before boiling them allows the flavour to escape into the cooking water (which gets poured down the sink). Also the potatoes will absorb a lot of water rendering them fairly flavourless. So, they do take a little longer to cook but the extra flavour is worth it. If you are in a hurry try the baby size (if you can get them) as they are smaller and will cook faster.

3. Just Cooked

Boil your potatoes until they are just cooked i.e. When a knife is inserted into the potato, they should slide off without breaking apart.

4. Ricing, Not Mashing

I like to use a ricer. This fantastic little piece of kitchen gadgetry forces the cooked potato through little holes at the bottom giving you a smooth evenly textured consistency (in other words NO LUMPS). You can pick one up from a kitchen store for around $30. I would use mine at least once a week. My favourite thing about using the ricer is NO PEELING! That's right, just put the whole cooked spud in, push it through and the skin is left behind, just like magic!

5. Butter Is Not Evil

(Or fat = flavour). OK so it's not the healthiest mantra going around, but butter definitely makes it better. The more the better and as Peter Russell Clarke told us in the 80's "It's only Natural". Hey, if it's good enough for the French, it's good enough for me. And if you are not eating mash every night, then there's no harm right??? Enough justification? For a health conscious alternative see my variations below.

6. Cold Butter, Warm Milk

Enough said? Butter straight from the fridge creates a little steam to make things all light and fluffy. A little warm milk helps everything stick together. Adjust the quantities to suit your own tastes. Some people like a stiff consistency while others like a smoother "not quite a soup" thickness. Just a

7. Now Beat it!

Take your wooden spoon and BEAT IT. Take out all the days frustrations and beat the living daylights out of those spuds. Light, creamy, fluffy mash will ensue. I promise :)

Alternatively, place the potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer with  the paddle attachment fitted. Beat in the butter and milk on a low speed until combined. Increase to high speed for a few minutes until creamy.

Perfect Mashed Potato

  • 1kg cream delight potatoes, unpeeled
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 200 ml milk, hot
  • salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
1. Place the whole potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Remove the lid, reduce heat to medium-high. Boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when tested with a skewer.
2. Drain the water from the pan using a colander. Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes back into the pan. Add the butter and milk and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot.

(Serves 4 as a side)

Cooks tip: To heat milk, pour into a microwave-safe jug or cup. Heat, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes on HIGH power or until hot.

Parmesan Mash - Add 50g finely grated parmesan cheese with the butter and milk

Olive Oil Mash - Replace the butter with 1/3 cup Welly Boot Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Mustard & Sour Cream Mash - add 1/3 cup sour cream and 1 tbs Dijon mustard with the butter and milk

Feta & Oregano Mash - Stir 100g crumbled feta, grated rind 1 lemon and 3 tsp dried oregano into the mash after the butter and milk have been mixed in.

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Rebel said...

I love that old Peter Russel Clarke butter ad! It's so true!

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