Another simple recipe, we also enjoyed mashed potatoes at our Christmas dinner. My favorite recipe is more of a favorite method, and it comes from the editors at Cook's Illustrated. The focus of the method is to prevent the starch molecules from absorbing too much water and exploding, which is the cause of gluey mashed potatoes. This method calls for steaming the potatoes, which introduces less water to them. The result is perfectly creamy mashed potatoes (never gummy) that you can flavor however you like best.
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Source: Cook's Illustrated, March/April 2008
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (4 to 6 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed well, and drained.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I omit when I want lighter mashed potatoes)
- table salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk, warm (we never have whole milk in the house, I just use skim or 2%. Having it warm is the key here)
Place a metal colander or steamer insert in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water for it to barely reach the bottom of the colander. Trun heat to high and bring water to a boil. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium high. Cook potatoes 10 minutes. Transfer colander to sink and rinse potatoes under cold water until no longer hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Return colander and potatoes to pot, cover, and continue to cook until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Pour off water from Dutch oven.
Set a ricer (preferred) or food mill over now empty pot. (I'll admit hear that I just smoosh most of the potatoes through the holes in my steamer basket and call it a day). Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper of ricer or food mill and process, removing any potatoes stuck to the bottom. Using a rubber spatula, stir in melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt until incorporated. Stir in warm milk until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.