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Plain Old Mashed Potatoes

I have resisted writing a recipe for Mashed Potatoes for years. After all, I have never used one. Growing up, when my family made Mashed Potatoes we just boiled potatoes and then did something to them. No measuring was ever involved. There were no questions about what to add. It was the same as with most things; throw in some butter along with salt and pepper. Add milk and stir until the consistency is right. End of story.

Come to think of it, I probably asked for a recipe when I first set up housekeeping on my own. I probably got an answer much like the one above. Now that my children are asking those questions of me, I thought it was time to record the process with a bit more precision. The last few times I have mashed potatoes I’ve taken notes.

This recipe is for the kind of Mashed Potatoes we tend to prefer in my family; fairly thick and with the occasional rustic lump of unmashed potato or bit of potato skin. It is meant as a guideline so don’t get too caught up in following it to a tee. The exact quantites of milk, broth and/or butter will depend on the consistency and type of the potatoes boiled as well as whether or not your intention is to create a light side dish or an indulgence. If you are short of an ingredient (aside from the potatoes), don’t worry. There are many possible substitutions. Just take a look at Pinterest or, better yet, use your imagination.

Mashed Potatoes

3.5 pounds potatoes
½ cup milk or broth
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt

Peel the potatoes. Rinse and cut into 2-inch chunks. Place potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with water. Add salt.

Bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Turn burner off and let sit.

In a small saucepan combine:

½ cup milk or broth ¼ cup butter

Heat gently, to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Drain potatoes in a colander. Return potatoes to cooking pan. Smash potatoes with a potato masher or large fork.

Add the warm milk/butter mixture, a little at a time, and mash it into the mixture until the potatoes are fairly smooth and have the consistency you desire. Amounts will vary somewhat according to the texture of the potatoes used.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with snipped chives, crumbled bacon a dash of paprika and/or a drizzle of butter or gravy.