I can’t remember the last time we had mashed potatoes from a box. Just the thought of it brings to mind the empty feeling I get from any foods that are simply a semblance of real food. I know it’s convenient, economical and sometimes the only option for people, but perhaps if we looked to our grandparents and those before them and how not everything they made from scratch in their kitchens was difficult, messy and unworthy of our time. In fact, a recipe for mashed potatoes is one of those things that you learn how to make once or twice and you’re good for life. Never be intimidated by the process of boiling, peeling and mixing- and there definitely is no need for fancy gadgets like the one I’ve used below- a simple hand masher will do the trick just as well.
Maybe the most difficult part is peeling the potatoes. If that is too cumbersome, make it a rustic mashed potatoes dish and leave the peels on (just make sure you scrub the surfaces very clean before boiling). I also add a couple parsnips to the mix just because I like the added texture they give to the potatoes, but if you don’t have them or don’t want to use them, just leave them out altogether.
For 3-5 pounds of potatoes, I place peeled and quartered potatoes in a large Dutch oven of salted boiling water and cook on medium-high for about 30 minutes.
Simply stick a knife or fork into the potatoes to test their softness.
Drain immediately and let them cool a bit.
*At this point, you can even leave them in the fridge, covered, overnight and work on the next part when you’re ready. The only difference here is that you should reheat the potatoes (i.e. in the microwave) before making additions and mixing it all together.
Next, either place the potatoes in a large bowl or in your stand mixer (you can do this in parts if you have a large amount here like I did. Add salt and pepper generously but if you’re also going to top with gravy, you may want to hold back a little on the salt.
Next add the sour cream. I use whole milk sour cream, just my preference as any other type makes the potatoes watery, in my opinion.
And the whole milk (for the same reason). I always warm up the milk because I don’t like cold milk in warm potatoes. Also add softened butter, unsalted so you can control the amount of salt overall.
Use the paddle attachment for the stand mixer if you’re using that appliance.
With the stand mixer, you should be able to reach a desired consistency within 30 seconds on medium-high. Always be careful not to over mix, as the potatoes will become gluey.
Top with fresh or dried herbs and/or your favorite recipe for gravy.
Now you can tweak, enjoy, and make it over and over again!
- 5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2-4 parsnips, peeled and chopped (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup whole milk sour cream
- 2-4 tablespoons softened butter, unsalted
- Peel potatoes and parsnips and cut into wedges.
- Bring a large Dutch oven of salted water to a boil.
- Boil potatoes with parsnips for about 30 minutes.
- Drain immediately and let cool.
- If keeping overnight, you’ll want to re-heat in the microwave.
- Warm the milk.
- In a stand mixer place the potatoes then add the milk, butter, sour cream and salt. Mix gently so as not to splash the ingredients around then slowly increase the speed.
- Serve immediately with desired gravy and extra black pepper and/or fresh or dried parsley.