Lean in close, I have a confession to make. I never cared much for mashed potatoes. Really, I could take them or leave them. I’ve tried to fall in love with this prize of Thanksgiving dinner tables across America. They just didn’t get me excited. But that’s all changed.
Marrying into an Ohio family, I was told I better fall in love with mashed potatoes, and quick! I decided right then and there that I would come up with a recipe so good it would send me back to the table for seconds. What’s the secret to the world’s best mashed potatoes? I discovered three things:
- Use the right potato: Use a good starchy potato. Yukon Golds are a great potato, but unless you want creamy instead of fluffy, they just won’t cut it for mashed. At your local grocery store that means Russets. If you’re hitting your farm market look for varieties like Kennebeck, Eva and Reba.
- Use the right tool: Pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. The less you work them the fluffier they are. That old fashioned masher makes them lumpy and beaters just make them gummy. Bonus! The food mill will catch the skins. No more potato peeling. Don’t worry, you can find another job for cousin Johnny!
- Add a bright bite: The one thing lacking amidst the comforting starchy potatoes, rich cream, and butter was a little bite. Something to keep your palate from being lulled to sleep. Sour cream is too sharp. Crème fraîche is the perfect answer. Look for it with the good cheese display at your grocery store.
So this year I will finally join those of you who have been extolling their virtues and raise a glass – and a large sauceboat filled with gravy – to a bowl filled with fluffy, rich mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
The Best Mashed Potatoes Ever!
Light and fluffy, rich with cream and butter and with just the right bite from crème fraiche – sour cream for grown-ups. These are everything good-old-fashioned mashed potatoes are meant to be. You can dress them up with a drizzle of truffle oil or fried sage leaves, but for Thanksgiving I like them simple and delicious!
- 3 large starchy potatoes, like Russet
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3 tbs crème fraiche
- Boil whole and unpeeled potatoes until a paring knife easily pierces to the center, but potatoes are not falling apart.
- Using the finest disc, press potatoes – peels and all – through a food mill into a medium bowl. The food mill will catch most of the peels.
- Stir butter, cream and crème fraîche into warm potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Absolutely drown in gravy!
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