Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Birthday Tradition (Recipe: Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes)

At the beginning of the month we celebrated my husband's birthday.  I am always prepared for his birthday dinner request because it has been the same for least the last decade.  We always have pot roast, carrots, and mashed potatoes served with au jus.  This year instead of cake, pumpkin bread took its place at the table.

As I was preparing his meal I realized that I have never shared my mashed potato recipe on the blog.  There are no substitutions for mashed potatoes here at this house.  If I made it any other way there would be a riot on my hands.

I use Yukon Gold potatoes, which I could find  at a drop of a hat living in Idaho but here in Texas the task is a little more pricey and difficult.  If I used any other...remember that riot mentioned before, yeah, you get the picture.

I practice the techniques I learned long ago in culinary school, starting with placing the potatoes in cold water and then bringing them to a boil.  If I can remember correctly, this is to ensure even cooking.

I also dry out my cooked and drained potatoes before mashing them.  We used to lay them on sheet pans and dry them out in the oven-but who has time for that...not me.  So, I just place them back in the pot where they came from and dry them out over the stove top.  Water and cooked potatoes are really not that great of friends and mashed watery potatoes can become a gelatinous, gummy mess.

The potatoes are then put through the finest plate of my food mill transforming into a velvety, silky puree. I add heated milk, butter, salt, pepper, and buttermilk.

These mashed potatoes are silky smooth and the flavor is unbelievable.  I really never feel the need to add gravy to these potatoes because they are that good.

Buttermilk Potatoes
serves 6

3 pounds boiling potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled
1/2 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
salt & pepper
  1. Place cubed potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
  3. As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander and return to the pot.  Heat over medium heat until the potatoes form a dry skin on their surface.  A skin will also form in the pot as well.
  4. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a heatproof bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk-and-butter mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, to taste, and serve hot.

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