Friday, March 27, 2009

Comfort Food Friday - Finally a decent mash


I know, I really ought to give you a recipe - you've barely had any all week! - but sorry. Instead, I give you... my first successful mashed potatoes. Ever.

You're probably thinking "hey, what's so special about that? Besides, ugly photo!" and here's the story. I love mashed potatoes. Yet, I've never made them myself. See, I'm married to a mash-hater. He won't eat it. And I won't make mashed potatoes just for myself. Or at least, I thought I wouldn't. I tried, once, about eight years ago. It failed miserably, and I ended up with a gluey mess. Ever since, I've been afraid of trying. Instead, I've begged my friends to make me mashed potatoes, and I've eaten them in restaurants whenever I've had a chance.

Until a few days ago. I bought a 5 kilo bag of potatoes and decided to give it a go. I was wary, remembering the glue, and simply boiled the potatoes until very soft, mashed them with milk and butter (not too much milk at first) with a whisk (since I don't own a proper potato masher), and added more milk and butter, and salt, until I had a brilliant mash.

And then I ate it all. Yes, the entire pan. And you know what? I can't wait to make it again. And again.

For now, I'm satisfied with this very simple version, but I imagine I'd like to add more things to it eventually. What's your favorite variation on mashed potatoes?


Anonymous said...

Cheesy mash with sausages and baked beans. (So English!). It is not gourmet food but great if you are feeling ill!

Anonymous said...

Anne, just adding a bit freshly grated nutmeg makes the taste even better, especially when you add it in the milk while you warm it.
Who knows, maybe even your partner likes it?

Jessica said...

did you use a mixer with your gluey version? It is when the starch goes haywire that you get the glueyness. My favourite mash is regular but done with cream. Otherwise a mash with carrots and a wee bit of onions. Champ (the dish) with variations on it is terrific as well.

Anne said...

Anonymous - cheese sounds like a great addition!

Marjoke - that sounds awesome too. For P, it's the texture, so I doubt he'll be happy with nutmeg - but I will!

Jessika - I don't think I did, but it was so long ago... something definitely went wrong. :)

David T. Macknet said...

There are different kinds of potatoes, and only very few are right for mash. Take a look at British Potatoes and they'll tell you about them.

I'd say that you should include roasted garlic in them! Nothing in the world is better, really - particularly if you really roast the garlic to where the cloves are caramelized. Yum!

Anne said...

DaviMack - excellent point. Sadly, our stores usually have one or two kinds and the only choice is between firm or floury. (And I know floury are supposedly better - but this mash was actually made with firm, and came out great.) I'll definitely try the addition of caramelized garlic - yum!!

Jessica said...

Mashed potatoes made on almond potatoes (mandelpotatis) is great. They are so floury in themselves that I find them hard to boil to eat whole. I have managed once or twice over very low temperature to keep them together. They make excellent mash. Another fun variant is Kongo potatoes (blue mash). Nothing fancy about flavour but the colour creates a cool effect. You can find a wider range of potatoes but usually calls for some searching. There's a potato market in Enköping. They carry a fairly wide range of potatoes, the price is very reasonable.
A wee bit of nutmeg does add character. Don't toss in 14 full nuts as suggested in a recent cake recipe though ;).

Phyllis said...

I love to experiment with different root vegetable mashes. I think my favorite combination is parsnips and russet potatoes -- the parsnips add a subtle sweetness. If you want just potatoes, I like to leave the skins on when I mash them which gives great texture and (I may be crazy thinking this) a more potato-y flavor.

Puglette said...

now that you have had this success, buy the potato masher! so much easier to use and doesn't make them too gluey (in my opinion). they are oh so good aren't they?

hopefully the baby will love them too!

Anonymous said...

A very nice thing to serve instead of mashed potatoes is a mash of sweet potatoes with a bit of horseradish -in Finland we have a horseradish flavoured cream cheese, which is great for this! This mash is particularly nice with salmon.

Anonymous said...

Try it with some cokked beet puree, you will get a funny pink mash.
Or mix in grounded parmiggiano, it's lovely too.
I never make potato mash without nutmeg - it is essential. :)

Kevin said...

My favorite addition is ground horseradish.

Pene said...

I make "smashed" potatoes - I use a masher just a little so there are still junks of potato, then add a lump of butter & then mix in a good sprinkle "salad herb" mixture. Put a slice of cheese on top to melt.
Be warned, both my sons wouldn't eat mashed potato when babies.

Heinushka said...

This is the traditional mashed potatoes I've always made. It never fails, so glad you gave it another go! Although I always use a masher never a mixer.

Plus a masher is very handy to have around when you want to make strawberry jam etc! :)

Reine said...

I love mashed potatoes even more the next day- fried with little bit of oil or butter. Yummy!

But I love also the version how my grandma did it- with grits and milk served with cold salted sour cream.. delicious!

Elin said...

I had the gluey mess experience and got the tip that is because the potatoes has been frozen. Dont know if its true but in that case, you dont have to blame the chef :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,

I love mashed potatoes also. Besides the "original" version I do also:
- mash potatoes with pumkin sead oil (it gonna be a nice, light green meal)
- mash potatoes with sour cream (not so creamy as with milk and butter, but so fresh and light)
- mash potatoes with butter and milk + add garlic at the end (I garnish fried chicken with that)
- mash potatoes with butter and milk + add choped parsley at the end (in spring time mostly)

Maryann said...

I love mashed potatoes, and just recently tried this version of colcannon (mashed potatoes, cabbage & leeks).


Nat said...

Milk/cream, butter, salt and....mmmm mustard. Regular Dijon or whole grain Dijon. Fabulous.
Also great is Cauliflower mash. CAn add some potato for texture, but not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Did you make mash from a 5 kg bag of potatoes, and eat it all? Maybe I just read that wrong, or I really need to get a grip on life as a pregnant woman. Whoa.

Anne said...

Anonymous - oh no, it's not *that* bad. But I ate about four large potatoes...

Thanks everyone, your tips are so very helpful! I did a horrible mash today though - the potatoes weren't soft enough, and I added too much milk. Goes to show I shouldn't be too confident, I suppose!

Christa said...

Oh my....I would die if I wasn't able to make my own mash :p

I always make sure that the milk just boiled a bit. That prevents that glue like texture. Makes it fluffy and nice.

Then I always add a bit of Philadelphia and ground nutmeg. No mash without a bit of nutmeg here :)

Other than that I sometimes add fresh parsley, especially in the summer :) Gives the mash a fresh "green" flavour :)