I love mashed potatoes, but I think Toby loves them even more. His default meal for birthdays, homecomings (from deployment, not the high school football game variety) and other occasions is meat, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and biscuits. Very nutritious, I know. So it wasn’t really a shock when he asked for some mashed potatoes to accompany our tequila-roasted pork.
I never thought of mashed potatoes as a particularly difficult-to-prepare dish. It is one of the first things I learned to make, and I have found it nearly impossible to screw up. And while I am consistently horrified by the fast-food varieties (i.e. Boston Market, KFC), I don’t recall tasting a homemade mashed potato I didn’t like. Then, a Thanksgiving or three ago, I read this article about all the variables involved in mashed potatoes. It advises peeling and cutting the potatoes, boiling them in salted water and using a masher with a flat face and grid pattern.
As you may be able to tell from these pictures, that is not what I do. I peel the potatoes, boil the hell out of them (usually in plain water) and smash them with a fork.
Then, as pictured, I add a stick of butter, a big heap of sour cream and a teensy bit of milk and mix it all up with an electric mixer.
You will probably want to throw some salt and pepper in there, too. And maybe some more sour cream, for good measure. Then I put it in the oven with whatever meat is cooking. Now, wasn’t that easy? No fancy masher/potato ricer required.
Mashed potatoes (serves 6)
5 medium potatoes or 4 large ones*
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup to 1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Set the butter out on the counter. Peel the potatoes. Place them in a pot of (salted, if you wish) water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, until you can easily insert a fork into them. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add stick of butter and 1/2 cup of sour cream. Blend using electric mixer. If the potatoes are too dense, add milk a few tablespoons at a time and blend. Add salt and pepper, then taste. Add more sour cream if necessary (for flavor and texture).
Place mashed potatoes in an oven-proof dish and bake until heated through and just starting to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve.
*I use normal baking potatoes, but I think any kind of potato would probably be fine. Paula Deen’s recipe calls for 10-12 red potatoes with the skin on. I don’t like skins in my mashed potatoes, and I don’t want to have to peel 10 tiny potatoes, but if either of those options appeal to you, go for it!