Friday, April 15, 2016

Rich and Creamy Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

This has been a week of rough mornings.  Begrudgingly dragging my sleepy self out of bed each morning to get the kids up, ready, and out of the house.  I've been longingly awaiting the arrival of today- a day when I could sleep in (though "sleeping in" these days rarely puts waking up past 7am) and not awake to an alarm ordering me out from under the covers.

 So of course, after a week of gleefully looking forward to spending this morning cozily curled up in bed getting a little extra rest, I'm up.
I've been up.  Since 4am.

This hardly seems fair.  After staring at the ceiling and fiddling with my phone in bed for a couple of hours I finally caved and decided that if I couldn't sleep at least I could have some quiet time on the couch before the rest of the family awoke.  Of course when I peeked in on the kids I found that my son was also wide awake before the sun and he promptly hopped out of bed to join me.

:-) Couldn't really ask for better company on this couch this morning.
While sleep may have escaped me cuddles and Spongebob with Little Man are a pretty sweet alternative.
So here I sit, up, caffeinated, cuddling with the cutest little boy ever, and ready to talk potatoes.

I know, I know, there really wasn't much of a transition there at all.  It's early, lets cut me a break.  :-)

So in all honesty I rarely make potatoes of any sort.  It's not that I don't like them- quite the opposite actually.
I love potatoes.  LOVE.  Mashed.  Scalloped.  Smashed.  Au Gratin.  In salad.  Baked.  Fried.
Pretty much any way you present me with a potato I'm going to enjoy it.

When I went low-carb a number of years ago I pretty much cut potatoes out of my diet and I've gotten out of the habit of keeping them on hand.  Seeing as I've sort of had an on/off relationship with the low-carb lifestyle as of late potatoes have been sneaking their way back onto my shopping list here and there lately- for the Southern Dill Potato Salad  a couple of weeks ago to the mashed potatoes I made for Easter my family has been enjoying their potatoes again this month!

So not to toot my own horn, but I make some pretty ridiculously tasty mashed potatoes.  When people ask me what my secret is through mouthfuls of creamy deliciousness I have to admit the only secret is that I don't even attempt to make them healthy.  I don't mash cauliflower (sorry low-carbers, I've tried to like it and just can't get onboard with this one...).  I don't use broth or skim milk.  I don't use a butter flavor substitute.
Nope.  These potatoes are full of love- and full-fat dairy products.  I certainly wouldn't serve these for dinner every night, but they're absolutely necessary for holiday meals.
You can use whatever potatoes you prefer, though I generally go for Russet or Yukon Gold.  After I cook the potato chunks and transfer them to a mixing bowl I plop in a stick of butter and cover it with the hot potatoes.  It melts fairly quickly and makes it easy to mash in the butter.  Speaking of mashing, I use a potato masher.  I grew up making mashed potatoes with a hand mixer- I'm pretty sure we didn't even own a potato masher, which is weird because now it's one of my favorite multi-purpose kitchen utensils!  Anyway, if you want to use a hand mixer that's fine but I prefer the texture of potatoes mashed by hand these days.

I like them the tiniest bit lumpy.  :-) My mom has a story from when she was a kid about when instant potatoes first came into fashion that I've heard repeatedly throughout my life.  Their good family friends had invited them over for a holiday meal and instant mashed potatoes were served- my mom promptly announced that she preferred her mother's mashed potatoes because they were lumpy.
My grandmother was mortified.  Oh the horror of being called out on making lumpy mashed potatoes!

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with a little lumpiness, but feel free to mash them to your desired degree of lump-freeness.  :-)

Once the butter in totally mixed in I add the remaining ingredients and finish mashing.  I like to keep my potatoes fairly basic, but if you wanted to add garlic or any other seasonings now would be the time.
VoilĂ !  Creamy, rich, delicious mashed potatoes everyone will love.

3 lbs potatoes
1/2 C butter
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C half-and-half
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper, or to taste

1. Peel potatoes and roughly chop into chunks of similar size. Bring a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes to a rolling boil and carefully add the potatoes to the water. Allow to boil for 15-20 minutes or until potato chunks can easily be mashed with a fork.

2. Drain potatoes and transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl. Add butter to bowl and use potato masher to mash into potatoes as it melts. Add sour cream, half and half, salt, and pepper and continue to mash to desired consistency.

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