- 1kg Potatoes
- 30gr Butter
- Egg yolk
- Cream, fresh ground black pepper and seasoning.
Making mashed potatoes is the easiest of tasks when it comes to cooking, especially if you have the very basic knowledge of cookery and you are able to look at the process logically. Having a certain level of understanding when it comes to cooking fundamentals will set you on the way to know and grasp why things go wrong when trying out recipes. When you have a solid understanding of these basic principles, making mashed potatoes is as easy as could possible be and they will turn out perfect every time.
- After peeling and washing the potatoes you need to cut them in half or quarters to reduce the cooking time and to ensure that they cook evenly.
- Place the raw and peeled potatoes in a boiling pot and cover with cold water. Ensure that the potatoes do not have any “eyes” or black pieces left on them, as they have to be all peeled or cut off to ensure that the potatoes are all the same white colour when finished.The water needs to be salted before you place the pot on your stove to bring it to a boil. This is where the basic understanding of cooking comes in and the simple methods you follow will make your mashed potatoes lovely or terrible. When you bring the water to a slow boil to cook the potatoes it is imperative to understand that the water will cook the potatoes from the outside in. This happens by the water penetrating the potatoes layer by layer and as the water sinks in to the centre of the potatoes, the water and the flavour thereof will enter the potato. If you add too much seasoning or salt, the potato will taste exactly like the water the potatoes are boiled in and will become inedible or unpleasant to eat as best. Adding no salt or seasoning to the water and leaving it plain will ensure that the potatoes just taste like….well, water!
- Slow boil the potatoes until they are cooked. To test the potatoes you will have to prick them with a sharp tipped knife, they are cooked when the knife enters the potato with little resistance. There should always be a little resistance or “bite” as if they are overcooked they will have absorbed too much water making the potatoes stodgy and heavy.
- When the potatoes are cooked they need to be taken off the stove and poured directly in to a colander allowing all the hot water to run down the sink. Let the potatoes sit there in the colander allowing all the hot steam to escape, until there is only a little steam left. It is important to understand that the steam is actually water and by allowing all the steam to disperse you are allowing liquid to escape therefore allowing your finished potatoes to be light and fluffy. When the potatoes have but a little steam escaping, this is the time you need to mash them and in doing so allowing even more steam to escape from inside the potatoes. If there are only a few potatoes you can use a simple dinner fork, but if there are lots you need to invest in a potato masher that you can purchase at your local kitchen utensil shop.
- You never ever cool off your potatoes in cold water; this will give the potatoes a chance to absorb even more water making the end product again very stodgy and heavy, when allowing them to cool off in a colander you are letting them cool off naturally and on their own. Water is the enemy of mashed potatoes and the least of it the better.
- When the potatoes are mashed and still warm, you can add your egg yolk, butter, a couple of twists of fresh ground black pepper straight from the mill & a splash of cream and grated cheese if you desire. Tasting the potatoes before adding any more salt is a good idea as they will have absorbed salt when the water penetrated them and we do not want to over salt them as the salt cannot be retrieved when too much has been added.
Notes: You could add the ingredients to the finished potatoes and just incorporate them all with a wooden spoon, but the flavour will have then just been added at the last minute before serving. This will not allow the taste of the added ingredients to be absorbed properly as it would if they were cooked together in the water. You start to cook when you understand that the potatoes will absorb the taste of anything you add to the water you boil them in. Remember, the water cooks the potatoes by penetrating the potatoes from the outside in thereby carrying the flavour of your added ingredients with it inside the potato. How about changing the water with a light chicken stock, you can add anything to the water or stock when cooking the potatoes and you can experiment and create your own recipe with any type of herbs, spices, garlic, even chili pepper if you wanted….lemon, cinnamon or anything your heart desires. Happy Cooking!