I learned how to make good mashed potatoes from my mother. I have probably seen her make them a few thousand times growing up. Thought it would be the perfect thing to highlight in the first edition of Back to Basics. I'll go step-by-step in this fairly simple process:
1. Peel several Yukon Gold potatoes (the number is up to you). This is very important. Yukon Gold has a natural buttery flavor.
2. Cut potatoes into one-inch cubes (doesn't have to be perfect). Throw in large pot of water. Add about a 1/2 TBSP of salt to the water.
3. Bring to boil...turn stove down a bit to a nice rolling boil. Let boil for 10-11 minutes.
4. Test softness with fork. Once the fork can easily slide through potato, remove, and drain water.
5. Add potatoes back to pot. Take out some milk, butter, and salt...along with a mixer.
6. It's important to remember that mashing potatoes is not an exact science. The key is never adding too much too early. Add a little at a time, taste, and continue to add ingredients if needed.
7. Add the butter, and a good pour of milk. How much milk really depends on the number of potatoes. Remember, hold back. Start out with just a little milk.
8. Mix on Low at first so the potatoes don't fly out everywhere. Add a good shake of salt. Not too much. Taste.
9. Turn the mixer on High, add some more milk if needed. The potatoes should have a nice fluffy consistency. They get gummy if too much milk is added. Add salt to taste.
10. The salt is key. Most mashed potatoes are bland because the salt is added to them at the table. By mixing in a moderate amount of salt, it gives the potatoes a consistent taste.
11. Keep potatoes in pot, add a pat of butter and drop on top of mixture. Close pot and wait to serve. The butter gives it a nice presentation when the pot top is lifted. Enjoy!