Mashed potatoes are wonderful. Even the pickiest eaters like them, they’re easy to make, and the leftovers provide all sorts of bountiful options, like my potato croquettes. Ultimately I believe a well mashed potato needs nothing more than butter and salt, but there is nothing wrong with a few helper ingredients either. Whether you choose to go simple or dress them up a little, the trick is getting the potatoes cooked quickly and consistently, and the following technique is the best I’ve found so far.
Serves 8-10, or 3-4 with enough leftovers for croquettes or other delights
3 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and evenly diced
1 stick butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup whipped cream cheese Saucy Note: Regular cream cheese is fine too, but it will incorporate better if you soften it in the microwave first.
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Scrub and peel the potatoes. Dice the potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Prepping the potatoes this way helps them cook evenly and in much less time than a whole potato, and helps prevent lumps when mashing.
Put the potatoes in a large stockpot or saucepan. Cover with 2 inches of water and add 1 tbsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and turn it down slightly once the water is rapidly boiling. Boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain potatoes gently into a colander. Return pot to stove and add butter pieces. If using a ricer to mash, process the potatoes back into the pan. My preferred method is the mashed potato attachment on my KitchenAid immersion blender, but not everybody likes kitchen gadgets like I do. A regular old-fashioned masher will also do the trick, since the potatoes are already diced small.
When the potatoes are halfway mashed, add the remaining ingredients. Taste one potato unseasoned to determine how much salt is needed-sometimes the salty water is enough. Continue mashing to incorporate the rest of the ingredients until the potatoes are smooth, but try not to over-stir or they will get gluey. Serve hot, keeping warm in a crockpot if necessary.