With Thanksgiving right around the corner, our thoughts turn to succulent turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and everyone’s favorite side dish — mashed potatoes! Whether you prefer Yukon Gold, sweet potatoes, or both, here are three secrets for the perfect mashed potatoes made in your very own dream kitchen.
Secret #1: Pick The Perfect Spuds
According to Good Housekeeping, Yukon Gold and Russet are the top picks for traditional mashed potatoes. These two varieties have a thinner skin and higher starch content than most, which helps keep your mashed potatoes smooth and delicious. Russet potatoes are the classic choice and mash to a light and fluffy consistency. Yukon Gold potatoes are naturally buttery with a creamy consistency and have become increasingly popular on holiday tables over the past few years.
When it comes to mashed sweet potatoes, Cooks Illustrated recommends sticking with varieties that have a deep orange flesh, like Red Garnet and Jewel. Not only do they have a richer and sweeter flavor than other types of sweet potatoes, but they also have a moister, creamier texture that lends itself to mashing. Shop for fresh potatoes a few days before your feast, and store them in pull out baskets inside your dream kitchen cabinetry until the big day.
Secret #2: Cook Them Correctly
Once you wash and peel your potatoes, cut them into quarters and then into evenly sized chunks. Small, even pieces cook quicker and more consistently. The next step is boiling your potatoes. Get a large pot from your cookware organizer, add your cut potatoes, and cover them with cold water. Add ½ – 1 teaspoon of salt, bring the water to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Better Homes and Gardens has some great tutorials and techniques for perfectly boiling sweet potatoes and other varieties like Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes. Test your potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender and fully cooked, and then drain your potatoes well using a large colander in the kitchen sink.
Secret #3: Be Gentle And Season Well
Now that your potatoes of choice are perfectly cooked and well-drained, the true magic begins. While nobody likes lumpy mashed potatoes, mixing too vigorously or for too long will result in a thick, pasty and unappetizing consistency. Instead, remember to be gentle!
You can prep your potatoes by hand with a masher, or pull up your heavy duty mixer and whip on low speed until blended. Just don’t overwork them. Let your butter come to room temperature and warm up your milk before adding them to your warm potatoes, and then season to taste with salt and pepper from your kitchen pantry cabinet or spice rack.
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