Tuesday, January 12, 2010

EZ Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I think I've avoided making mashed potatoes on many occasions because I thought of it as a multi-step process: peel, cook, drain, mash, combine with warm milk possibly using a mixer ... In my mind the sink full of dishes just didn't justify the craving, so I held out. Well through combination of an irresistible craving for mashed potatoes, my need for a fast side dish and a small degree of laziness, I've made creamy mashed potatoes into a one-pot dish.

I don't make mashed potatoes often, but when I do, I use milk, cream and butter ... boiling potatoes in water? Bah humbug. However, you can certainly lighten the load on these 15 minute potatoes (yes you read that right) by using water or chicken stock for cooking, and omitting the butter or substituting a lesser amount of a heart-healthy oil like a good quality olive oil. It's up to you, and the great thing about home cooking is that YOU control the ingredients, so make your mashed potatoes as light or rich as you like.

Think potatoes are an "empty carb?" Think again: they contain vitamin C, potassium, B Vitamins, fiber and several trace minerals. Now keep in mind a lot of the nutrients are diminished if you peel your potatoes, so consider partially peeling them (think making stripes with your peeler) to retain some of these nutrients. Read more from OrganicFacts.net about the health benefits of potatoes.

EZ Creamy Mashed Potatoes
4 cups milk (whole, skim, 1/2 & 1/2, stock, etc.)
6-8 medium redskin potatoes (think tennis ball size) peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1/2 stick butter or 2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
salt/pepper to taste

Combine peeled and cut potatoes with milk, salt and pepper in a pot. Liquid should be enough to just cover the potatoes.

Cook for about 10-15 over medium heat being careful not to scald the milk and stirring occasionally to prevent any sticking on the bottom of the pot.

When potatoes are fork tender, remove the bay leaves, add the butter or oil, and mash with a whisk or potato masher or fork. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. If potatoes are too stiff, whip in a little additional milk or cream 2 Tbsp at a time. If serving potatoes later, reheat with a little additional liquid.