I Can Mash Potato, I Can Do The Twist!

Potatoes1 Ever wonder how a chef makes mash at home?

Potatoes. Butter. Salt. That is all.

The potato used makes all the difference. The type of potato you use is up to you. Those big brown brushed spuds in the supermarkets are okay and maybe all that’s available. If you’ve got a good grocer, ask the guys there what’s the best that they’ve got for mashing. In fact I recommend this any time you cook a spud. There are hundreds of varieties in the world, each being suited to different cooking styles..

1.5kg potatoes – we’re using Sebago, Dutch Cream and Desiree
200g salted butter – diced and softened.
Wash, peel and chop the spuds into equal size pieces. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. The water will be cloudy. Drain the water off and repeat this process until you have clear water. Ensure that you’ve got at least 2 inches of water over the top  of the spuds. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water.Potatoes3Turn the heat up high. Bring to a good solid boil and then reduce the heat slightly so we’re at a steady rapid boil. They should take 35-40 minutes to cook, depending on size. Larger pieces are better.Potatoes6Drain well. Mash them well whilst still hot. Fold in the butter, check the seasoning. If your water was salty enough, you won’t need to  add salt.

Serve.Potatoes7The TwistDifferent flavours you might add to impress the folks at your table!
Cream cheese and chives, garlic and tarragon , finely dice shallots for what the Irish call ‘champ’, lemon zest and parsley, olive oil instead of butter, pesto, wilted spinach, dill, tahini, buttermilk, goats cheese… This list could go on.

What Kid DidPotatoes2Kid washed and peeled the spuds. Shelled some peas and stacked the dishwasher. I chopped and cooked the spuds then Kid mashed them and stirred in the butter. Imagine coming home a little later than normal, feeling a little rushed and being able to say ‘ Hey kids, you get the spuds on and I’ll get the other bits happening’. Everyone’s a winner. Don’t get too cocky though please, make sure what you’re asking of them is achievable and in line with their skill set.Potatoes5Why is my mash lumpy?
Either you didn’t rinse them properly or you didn’t cook them long enough or your just not finished mashing yet. Get that arm working! Investing in something called a moulis is well worthwhile if you make mash often.

Why is my mash like wallpaper glue?
You have either over-cooked the spuds or, most commonly, you didn’t mash them STRAIGHT AWAY. If you cook those spuds, drain them, then go off and have a shower, by the time you get back the starches in the potato will have begun to react unfavourably and you will have stodge. There is no way back from here I’m sorry. Cook. Drain. Mash.

And soon we’ll talk about what  to do with all that lovely left-over mash.

Happy Cooking!


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