Need I say more?
End of story? Not really.
Back in 1989 I took a trip to Holland with my father. We visited my aunt and her adorable kids. We also visited another relative living in a charming town named Bergen Op Zoom. She made mashed potatoes with bacon for dinner.
We took a bike ride, we saw Dutch cows, lots of water in the form of lakes, rivers, spray, showers, and rain… We watched the famous wind mills… Oh, there’s lots of photos in the Poffertjes post… You can see it all there.
Anyway, I could not forget the little Dutch pancakes bathed in butter and showered with powdered sugar (Sometimes served with strawberries and whipped cream. It must be heaven. Doesn’t it sound like heaven?). But I could not forget the first time I ate rich and creamy mashed potatoes confetti-ed with crispy bits of bacon either.
Ah, I can tell you about the many times I had BAD, bad mashed potatoes.
Watery, diluted, thin mashed potatoes.
Bland mashed potatoes.
Plain blah mashed potatoes.
Dry mashed potatoes that choke you.
Mashed potatoes made from powder! (What hell is THAT?)
Mashed potatoes with margarine. Greasy.
Yes, the beauty of simple food can be an elusive thing. And we take mashed potatoes for granted, don’t we?!
Suburban cowboy has suffered – not quietly! – for many years when I was skimpy with butter in our mashed potatoes. Poor guy.
But no worries, my friends. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. And some secrets to share. And I will share ‘cos I feel generous today and I love ya. (Don’t you find those people who will not share annoying?)
OK, so we all know the first part. You peel the potatoes, cut them in big chunks, cover with salty water and bring to a boil. Now what?
#1 When the water comes to a boil, low the heat to a very gentle simmer. If the water bubbles it’s just gonna break your potatoes and make a mess.
#2 While you’re at it, throw a garlic clove in there (unpeeled, whole, and smashed) and a herb you like; rosemary, thyme, parsley…
#3 After the potatoes are cooked and you drain them, return them back to the pot! Uncovered. This takes the moisture/water out. Very important! We don’t want no watery mashed potaters.
#4 How much butter? Well… I once read that one of the fanciest French chefs uses 2 pounds of potatoes (that’s 3-4 potatoes, depending on their size) and 2 sticks of butter ratio! (I found a recipe on this cute blog.) Now don’t get a heart attack. You can use less. But… be generous. Complete the rest with #5.
#5 Add other goodies like sour cream, heavy cream, milk… and bacon, of course. Oh, chopped fresh herbs are nice too. Fold gently.
#6 I sometimes add a sweet potato. It’s gooood.
#7 Use a ricer? Na, I haven’t got that far. We’re not that fancy. Fluffy mashed potatoes are good enough for us.
But I’d say that #3 is The most important!
So… what’s in your mashed potatoes? Care to share?