I don’t think it’s much of a confession to reveal that I love mashed potatoes. Next to french fries, they’re probably my favorite side dish. I try to eat healthy and restrict my intake of both, but every now and then I need a potato infusion.
My favorite kind of mashed potatoes is a rough mash, with the skins still on and fairly chunky. Some would call these “smashed potatoes,” actually — hence, the title of this post. I have found that the best potatoes for achieving this end result are Yukon golds and the larger red potatoes. Yukons have a creamier texture, while the red potatoes make a nicer skin-on mash.
I figure on 2 medium or 3 small potatoes per person. This usually makes more than we can eat, meaning leftovers, so if you have trouble controlling your potato intake, you may want to cut down the recipe accordingly. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a large pot, salt generously and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium, or enough to hold a steady simmer, and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, which may take anywhere from 20 minutes for very small potatoes to 40 minutes for very large ones. Drain and let dry.
As for the mashing implement, an old-fashioned potato masher works well for me. A ricer or food mill would result in potatoes that are too creamy for my tastes. Mash until the desired chunkiness is achieved.
I have tried many additions to mashed potatoes and haven’t found many combinations I don’t like. For the fat, I use 1 tbsp. melted butter per person. Melting the butter first ensures it will combine well without a lot of excess mashing. (I am still experimenting with olive oil — results will follow). I usually add the butter first, mix it in and then add the dairy, although if I am using cheese, I may mix that with the butter before adding both to the potatoes.
I figure on 2 tbsp. of a dairy addition per person. My favorite dairy mix-ins are:
- sour cream
- cream cheese
Add plenty of pepper and perhaps some snipped chives, and you’re good to go. However, if you want to make mashed potatoes even more special, it’s fun to experiment. Try any of the following mixed in after adding the dairy:
- other fresh herbs
- soft cheese or Parmesan
- garlic: boil a couple of cloves with the potatoes and saute some more minced with the butter while it melts