It's pretty standard to cook potatoes in boiling water, then drain them and add cream and butter and salt. And that way is good. But there's a MUCH MUCH better way.
Cooking potatoes IN cream and aromatics means you will get the creamiest, butteriest (not sure it's a word, but just go with me on this one) best mashed potatoes in the entire world.
- 4 pounds Yukon potatoes (the golden ones), peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heavy cream (I always buy the 32 ounce size -- you won't use all of it, but there will be extra to use in other recipes)
- 1 stick unsalted butter (use European for extra creaminess)
- Helpful kitchen tools
- cheesecloth or tea infuser
DO THE DAY BEFORE:
- **If you want to get a head start -- peel and cut your potatoes the day before. Place them a large bowl, cover with water and store in your fridge. This will prevent them from browning. Before cooking, drain them in a colander placed in your sink, give them a quick rinse and then place them in a large pot.**
- Place potatoes in large pot.
- In a cheesecloth or tea infuser, place the bay leaf, garlic, rosemary and thyme. If you don't have either, add the aromatics directly to the pot with the potatoes.
- Cover the potatoes with the cream. You want the cream to just barely cover the potatoes.
- To prevent the cream from overflowing, don't cover the pot.
- Cook over medium heat, at a gentle simmer (just a few bubbles here and there), until potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
- BE SURE YOU COOK AT A GENTLE SIMMER AND NOT A BOIL. IF THE CREAM BOILS IT'S LIKELY TO OVERFLOW AND CREATE A HUGE MESS.
- Place a colander over a bowl in your sink. DON'T FORGET TO PUT A BOWL UNDER THE COLANDER TO CATCH THE CREAM.
- When potatoes are cooked, carefully drain them in the colander.
- Remove the cheesecloth or tea infuser. If you didn't use a tea infuser or cheesecloth, carefully remove the garlic and rosemary sprigs. Don't worry about removing the thyme (if you used it)- - the leaves are so small they will incorporate just fine into the mashed potatoes.
- Using a ricer, rice the potatoes and put them back in their original pot.
- **I usually place the ricer in the large pot and use a large spoon to transfer spoonfuls of potatoes from colander to ricer. You will need to do this several times, but it's SO worth it to get gorgeous fluffy mashed potatoes.**
- Take the flavored cream and add it back to the pot with the potatoes about 1/2 cup at a time.
- Stir in butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Keep adding cream and butter, stirring over low heat, until the potatoes are the consistency you like.
- You WILL have extra cream. Save it to use when reheating the potatoes the next day.
- Serve immediately, or store in your fridge.