This week I’m mostly… making THE best mashed potato.

It’s our wedding anniversary today, so in the interests of maintaining our solid run of four years, I’m going to keep this post brief.

To celebrate our anniversary I cooked Asian style braised beef short ribs tonight. I’ve been meaning to cook this cut for ages, and finally got round to it today. I’ll share the full recipe on Monday –  but suffice it to say, after 7 hours in the slow cooker they were incredibly tender, sweet, and fatty in the best possible way.

I know it’s potentially controversial, but I often serve Asian stews with mashed potato. I’m that guy. I love a bit of coconut rice, or simple fried noodles and beansprouts with a spiced slow cooked muscle, but a creamy mash feels so much more decadent for a special occasion, and I’m ALL about decadence.

The recipe is a fairly rough guide, but  follow the steps, use the techniques, and you should turn out super-smooth, super-creamy, super-tasty mash. Mashed potato is the base upon which a great meal can soar to ever-greater heights, or collapse into a lumpy, watery, under-seasoned mire. Let your meals soar, like a majestic potato-fed eagle (rather than hobbling round your plate like a mangey pigeon with one foot).

There are loads of ‘THE BEST MASH’ recipes floating about the corridors of the web, but this is the only one you need. It is simple, but elegant, and will hopefully change the way you mash forever. The real trick to a lump-free mash (without using a mouli) – taught to me by a lovely merchant naval cook I worked with as a student in an old folks’ home kitchen – is to whip the mash to within an inch of it’s life using a balloon whisk.

Have a go, I promise you will thank me when your meal sits atop a pillow of silky carbo-goodness!

Recipe (serves 2)

  • 800g(ish) Potatoes (Maris Piper or Desiree are good options here)
  • 400g butter (double for über decadent mash – James Martin goes 50:50!)
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • glug garlic oil (optional)

Method

  • Peel and chop potatoes into small chunks, and boil in well salted water for 15-20 mins. You want them to be soft to the point of a knife. In my experience, it’s better to slightly overcook, than to undercook for mash.
  • Drain potatoes, and then leave to steam dry in sieve for 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer potatoes to empty pan, and add butter, salt, and oil if using.
  • Start mashing the potatoes using a masher, making sure to incorporate any lumps. Once a smooth consistency is achieved, use a large balloon whisk to whip into a luxurious puree. Really go at it, back and forth, hard as you like, until you achieve a texture so silky it should, by all rights, be made into a pair of boxers and inappropriately gifted to your father-in-law.
  • Voila. It’s as simple as that. Now away and enjoy it!

(image from Wikimedia Commons)

2 thoughts on “This week I’m mostly… making THE best mashed potato.

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