Saturday, April 17, 2010

Parmesean Garlic Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are what many consider the quintessential comfort food, but they can be bland, lumpy, gluey and generally lackluster if not done right. The Kitchen Witch is here to show you how to make not only fluffy mash, but flavorful fluffy mash.

Here's a few common mistakes that people make when it comes to mashed potatoes
1. Cooking potatoes too long
~~This results in watery potatoes, since the spuds absorb the cooking liquid, cooking them until they fall apart is bad, you'll end up with nasty wet watery mash. Cook until they are tender enough to easily split open with a fork and no crunch is left in the center.

2. Adding raw garlic to the cooked potatoes
~~This results in a overpowering sharp garlic taste, not a gentle perfume. Too much garlic can overpower your pallet rendering it useless to taste anything but garlic. Cooking the garlic cloves with the potatoes allows the scent of the garlic to infuse in the potatoes, leaving you a definite garlic flavor, but not one that everyone in a 2 block radius can smell as well.

3. Bland mashed potatoes
~~This is the easiest one to correct. Salt! Add a bit more salt & taste again. Still bland? Add more salt! Salt enhances foods flavors, adding more won't make your food taste salty, it'll just make it taste good. I salt the water the potatoes cook in and I salt again when mashing. Taste often to determine correct seasoning level.

4. Cold mashed potatoes
~~With mashed potatoes you really want to smash them minutes before serving dinner. As soon as you break the tubers open they start to lose precious heat. As you mash, whip & stir the heat is escaping quickly. Have your meal ready to go THEN mash the potatoes and serve. If you HAVE to mash them before you're ready to put the meal on the table, keep them covered and turn your heat on LOW/KEEP WARM. If worst comes to worse, you can microwave cold mashed, but be warned that the microwave can alter the texture of the potatoes.

Parmesean Garlic Mashed Potatoes
serves 4-6 as a side dish
4 medium/large potatoes (I used russets because thats what I had)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T butter
1/2 c milk
1/2 c shredded parmesean cheese (I have used the green can as well as real Parmesean, both were delicious)

Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put potato pieces and garlic cloves into a large pot of cold water. Bring water and potatoes up to a boil. Once it boils reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender all the way through, about 15-20 minutes at my altitude.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tips: put cut potatoes into a pot of cold water and bring it up to a boil together. Starting the potatoes in cold water helps them not absorb as much water, keeping your mash nice & fluffy and not watery or gluey.~*~

Drain potatoes well and put them back into the cooking pot. Cover the potatoes with a clean tea towel (or paper towels) and allow them to steam for about 5 min with the towel on. This process of steaming the potatoes allows the surface moisture to evaporate resulting in a smooth fluffy potato that doesn't get gummy. You'll know your potatoes are ready to mash when they are white and fluffy looking on the outside. They may appear dusty, this is GOOD, its the starches coming out, in insuring that you'll have fluffy mash.

Heat the butter and milk together in a microwave until its hot (about 1 min 30 seconds).

With a potato masher smash the potatoes and garlic BEFORE adding the liquids. this breaks up the potatoes but the gluten is not activated in the potato. What that means is that you can go to town on these babies and get them nice & mashed with out worrying about them turning gluey.

Once the potatoes are nicely mashed add the liquids. Switch to a wooden spoon and start to whip them up.

Add the cheese, stir it in well and allow it to melt a bit, like 1 minute. Stir it once more after cheese has melted and serve.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 253.5
Total Fat 8.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Cholesterol 18.0 mg
Sodium 682.8 mg
Potassium 907.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 3.1 g
Protein 7.5 g


Alison said...

These are making me hungry!

Jenn said...

Great informative tips, Andrea. I can't believe I didn't think about boiling the garlic with the potatoes. I will usually roast the garlic before I put it in, but boiling would be much easier!

Kathleen said...

Great trips! I love your Parmesan mashed potatoes!

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