Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

This picture makes me think of an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Remember the episode where Uncle Phil goes on a diet? He starts fantasizing about food and says, "...pillowy mounds of mashed po-tat-oes." This recipe makes pillowy mounds of mashed potatoes.

Ok, I'm going to admit I did an old Southern thing on this one. Southerners tend to make a lot of recipes without measuring and without written recipes. We go on "feel" (which is one reason I still have not posted a cornbread or dressing recipe on here yet). I had never made a recipe card for mashed potatoes before because I go mostly on "feel." To say, "Use six potatoes" doesn't mean much because those six potatoes could be any size at all. The amount of butter, sour cream, and salt are determined by the amount of potato. So, this recipe does not exactly have exact measurements; they are more or less approximations. If you want to add more or less butter, sour cream, or salt, go for it. I add a different amount every time. Although the ingredient amounts can vary, the method is reliable - the same every time. I struggled to make instructions...and a recipe card...but just know that in spite of struggling to explain, the potatoes are awesome :).

This photo is just to show the "set-up."

Don't you love my overuse of paper plates? I have cutting boards, but you're supposed to wash those. Paper plates require no washes. :) One paper plate is the cutting board, and one is for potato peels (so I can throw them all away at one time).

The pot in the background there has cold water in it and plenty of salt (probably 1/2 T...ish) so that the potatoes can be put in the water as they are cut.
Step One: Peel the potatoes. You don't have to, but if don't like potato peels in your mashed potatoes, you should. I occasionally leave them on.

This photo shows how I peel potatoes. I think I picked up this skill from Rachael Ray. I am the clumsiest person ever. I think that anyone anywhere would agree with me. They may even certify me. I cut a small slice off the bottom end of the potato so it will stand on it's own...
...and then I peel downward with my awesomely dull knives (I feel that I should apologize to Alton Brown every time I use the word "dull" and "knife" together.). Please laugh at the ridiculous extremes to which I go to peel a potato...for the safety of myself...and others...and the potatoes. 

Another "set-up" picture to show what's going on. As I peel the potatoes, the peels go in the plate on the right. Again, the potatoes go directly into that pot of well-salted, cold water on the far left (so they don't turn brown and yucky). 

Step Two: Cut the potatoes into equal sized pieces.

Step Three: Once all of the potatoes are in the pot of well-salted, cold water, put the pot on the burner and turn the burner on med-high until the water boils. ...And then when the water boils, let it keep boiling for about 15 minutes. 

Step Four: (I struggled to get this shot. Steam and boiling water kept messing me up! So, I took the pot off the heat...and there was still a lot of steam...but...I am rambling.)

Not everyone will agree with me on this point, but I have a good reason. When a fork will easily pierce through a potato, boil the potatoes about five more minutes.

Have you ever had mashed potatoes and bit into a potato that wasn't quite done? It...crunched? Ew...that sends shivers down my spine. It gives me goosebumps. Blech. To avoid that awful moment of undone piece of potato in the midst of "pillowy mounds of mashed potatoes," I cook the potatoes until the fork not only pierces the potato, but causes it to fall to pieces.

Step Four (ctd.): Pour the potatoes into a colander to strain out the water. Do not rinse. Add the potatoes back to the hot pot. Turn off the burner, but return the pot to the burner for about 15 seconds to evaporate off any excess moisture.

Step Five: Add butter, salt, and sour cream to hot potatoes.

I feel that you should know that this is not all of the sour cream that I added. I would be ashamed to only add this much!

Step Six: Mash all of it together.

Notice how dry these look? They need more sour cream.

Much better. I like my mashed potatoes slightly lumpy. If you followed directions well, those lumps of potatoes will melt in your mouth. If you don't like the lumps, just mash them a little longer. I've heard that if you mash too long, the potatoes get a pasty consistency - something about the starch or something. I wouldn't know. I never mash potatoes very long. :)

Step Seven: VERY IMPORTANT. Taste the potatoes. Add salt to taste. Salt brings out the deliciousness of the sour cream's tang.

The other recipes in this picture are: Dutch Oven Minute Steak and Rocket Rolls. This was one of the best meals ever. Although, I have to admit that part of what made it so wonderful is the fact that I had eaten at least three rolls by the time this photo was taken... :)

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
4 - 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 in pieces
4 T butter, approximately
1 c. sour cream, approximately

In a large pot, add potatoes. Cover the potatoes with cold water and salt well. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. When the potatoes are fork-tender, boil five more minutes or until the potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork. Pour the potatoes into a colander to strain out the water. Do not rinse. Add the potatoes back to the hot pot to evaporate off any excess moisture. Add in butter, sour cream, and salt to taste. Mash potatoes to the desired consistency.
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