What goes better with turkey than creamy buttery mashed potatoes? Pools of butter (I mean, why not -- it's Thanksgiving!) make these irresistible! A great tip to make these -- peel and cube the potatoes early in the day, put them in a bowl and fill it to the top, making sure the potatoes are covered. This will prevent them from turning brown. You can also make this in the morning, and reheat them gently before serving. If they stiffen up just add some, yep, you guessed it, more melted butter or an extra tablespoon of half and half.
There's the age old question -- russet or yukon gold? I'm partial to yukon gold because they have a consistency similar to butter, but I've also used russets. In my opinion, to guarantee fluffy mashed potatoes you really need to use a ricer or food mill. Trust me, this extra step is SO worth it!
- 5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup (1 to 2 sticks) Butter
- 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup Half-and-Half (or heavy whipping cream, if you want to be extra decadent!)
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pepper
Peel the potatoes, then cut them into small cubes. The cubes should be all about the same size, so they cook evenly. The smaller the cubes, the faster the potatoes will cook. Put all the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with water until the potatoes are just covered. Add a bay leaf, cover and bring the water to a boil. This is where you need to be careful not to have the water boil over, so don’t go too far away from the pot!
When the water boils, turn down the heat and simmer potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
While the potatoes are cooking, in a small saucepan warm the butter and half and half. Keep it warm, but not simmering or boiling.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Now you have 3 options for mashing them. If you want surefire fluffy potatoes, then put them through your ricer or food mill before adding them back to the pot. You might need to do this part in batches, depending on how many potatoes and the size of your ricer. The 3rd way you can mash them is add them back to the pot, and hand mash them. Whatever you do DO NOT use a hand mixer! The gluten will over expand making the potatoes similar to glue....not what you want!
Once the potatoes are mashed, if they're not already in the pot add them back to it. Then add about half of the warm butter mixture. Gentle stir to incorporate. It’s important to season the potatoes, so add salt and pepper a little bit at a time. Taste after each addition to see if you need to add more seasoning.
If you want creamier potatoes, add more of the butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
Taste and season with more salt if needed. I also like to add 2 tablespoons of butter and let that melt into the potatoes.
You can keep the potatoes warm on low heat until ready to serve, or put potatoes in a bowl and refrigerate.
Rewarm before serving.