There are two tricks to perfect mashed potatoes. The first: stop using russet potatoes! Yukon gold potatoes are a far superior, creamier, and sweeter potato. The second trick is not over-stirring them once they are mashed. As you stir, the starch breaks down and forms thick, gooey potatoes. No good! Stir less for creamy, light potatoes.
Additional tips: If have a potato ricer in you kitchen arsenal, that is the recommended way to “mash” your potatoes. If you don’t, a regular old hand masher works as well. Don’t put them in a food processor as this will over mix.
Adding roasted garlic kicks these up a notch. Don’t worry, roasted garlic is mild and sweet, not strong like raw garlic. That said, if your family prefers the traditional mashed potato, just omit the garlic and follow remaining steps. Some years we add garlic, some we don’t. No matter what, these mashed potatoes are always delicious!
4.5lb Yukon gold potatoes
1-3 cups heavy cream
16-32oz stock of choice
1 stick butter (yeah that is a lot, but it’s Thanksgiving right? You can get away with ½ stick (4oz) if you are feeling health conscious)
2-6 cloves garlic, skin on (if you’re going with the roasted garlic version)
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Roast garlic
Heat your oven to 350ºF. With a piece of tin foil, make a pouch to place 2-6 cloves of garlic (depending on how strong of a garlic flavor you want). Leave the skin on the cloves when you place them in the pouch. Seal it up and bake for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Cook potatoes
While your garlic is baking, peel and quarter potatoes and place in a pot of heavily salted cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (should take about 15 minutes of simmering). Drain potatoes into a colander and return the pot to stove (burner turned off).
Step 3: Prep garlic
Your garlic should be soft and roasted now. Remove it from the foil; when it is cool enough, remove the skins. Mash the garlic into a smooth paste on your cutting board with the side of your knife. Set aside.
Step 4: Mash and mix
Add butter to the pot over a low-medium heat. As the butter is melting, drop cooked potatoes into the pot with the roasted garlic. If using a ricer or food mill, rice/mill your potatoes into the pot. If you don’t have a ricer or mill, just drop the potatoes in and mash with your hand-held masher. If you are on the fence about the garlic, add some, but not all; you can always add more.
Step 5: More mashing and mixing
As you mash, add heavy cream and stock in increments. Don’t add it all at once; depending on the moisture of the potatoes, you may need a little more or a little less than the recipe calls for. You can’t take back too much liquid, but you can keep adding. Add salt and pepper. When the potatoes are mashed and the cream, stock, butter, garlic, salt and pepper are incorporated, stop stirring! Taste them. If they are a bit too thick, add a touch more cream and stock. If they need a bit more salt and pepper, add it. That’s it. You’re done. Perfect mashed potatoes!