What? Christmas dinner without mashed potatoes? Do you want a mutiny on your hands? A Christmas without mashed potatoes is similar to Christmas without presents under the tree!
Of course, you could cheat and buy the potato flakes and just add milk or water, salt and pepper. But wait…why not try making REAL mashed potatoes this holiday season and see if your guests can guess if they were made from scratch or not.
Select the Right Potatoes for Mashing
To make mashed potatoes from scratch, your first decision is what type of potatoes to purchase. Have you ever noticed all the types to choose from? There are red potatoes, mini red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, mini-white potatoes, baking potatoes, and the large one pound home-grown Idaho potatoes on the shelves in the produce section, all of them begging for you to take them home.
Since you are having dinner guests, you will want a little variety in your Christmas dinner to meet the taste buds of all guests at their own level. Everyone’s palate differs and that’s the beauty of dinner parties.
If there’s one thing you don’t want with a Christmas dinner, it’s a mashed potato with no texture or a mashed potato that won’t hold gravy. Remember that different potatoes were bred for different types of cooking. Some are only for boiling. Others are better for frying.
Some types are great for potato salads, others for scalloped potatoes, but the baking potato is the one that seems to be the most popular to use in the mashed potatoes recipes. This potato is in the Russet family, having a long, oval shape and light to medium brown skins.
The Russet potato is a favorite with many people because of its sweet, nutty flavor and the light, dry texture that makes eating it a delight, whether baked or mashed. It whips up nicely and has a firm texture.
From Scratch Recipes Rock!
When you are ready to cook the potatoes, you need to think about how many to prepare for the meal. Calculate one medium to large potato per person you will serve. For eight servings, use eight potatoes.
While shopping, pick up extra vegetables that will compliment your dinner. Green beans or green peas seem to fit in with most people’s palates.
Aunt Minnie’s Mashed Potatoes
- Wash and scrub potatoes thoroughly.
- Remove peel and slice or pare them and set aside.
- You will need a stick of butter (1/4 pound), 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper for seasoning. Assemble these.
- In a large pot, heat one teaspoon salt in two cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes, cover and return to boiling. Cook for about 25 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork.
- Drain and reserve about one-fourth cup of liquid. Cover to keep hot.
- Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and using a fork or potato masher, mash potatoes until butter is melted.
- Add the potato water that you set aside earlier and begin whipping with a hand mixer. While using the mixer, add the milk, a few tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need the whole amount or may need to add a little more milk. The potatoes should be the consistency of beaten egg whites, nice and fluffy. They should form a peak and be thick enough to hold a ladle of gravy.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and beat again. Cover potatoes to keep hot until ready to serve, then place in a dish. Add a few sprigs of parsley on top.
Then take your mashed potatoes to the dinner table and ask the guests, “Real or Fake?”