[76] Mashed Baked Potatoes

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

This is the second to last recipe that counted for this challenge from Thanksgiving. It’s also the second of two that I failed to remember to take photos. My apologies.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about why I did a slightly different recipe than Mr. Bittman’s traditional mashed potato recipe. I had two reasons, both very simple. First, because I was convinced (erroneously, it turns out) I had already made mashed potatoes (version 1) for this site. Obviously part of this challenge is to get me to spread my wings in the kitchen, so minimizing repeats is important. It’s also important if I ever want to buy another cookbook again in my whole forever life. Secondly, and even more basely, I picked this recipe because Bittman says that baking the potatoes, rather than boiling them, dries them out and allows them to soak up even more milk and butter. The thought of extra-rich mashed potatoes, with no extra ingredients, really intrigued me.

So, yeah. Basically it came down to extra dairy products in my potato products. What a great idea!h2. Ingredients

2 lbs baked potatoes, still warm and peeled if you so desire
1 c milk, plus more if needed

4 tbsp butter, plus more if needed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

h2. Instructions

Cube the potatoes.

Warm a large-ish pot over medium-low heat. Add the milk and butter and sprinkle with salt & pepper. When the butter is almost melted, remove the pot from the heat. Then, depending on your preferred texture, rice the potatoes, run them through a food mill over the pot or dump them directly into the milk and mash with a fork or potato masher. Once appropriately squished, return the pot to the heat and stir consistently with a wooden spoon to reach the desired consistency, adding more milk if needed. Taste, season as appropriate and serve.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Don’t start this recipe at 10:45 pm the day before Thanksgiving. (Where “this recipe” includes “the recipe for baking the potatoes.”:http://metacookbook.com/archives/141-72-Baked-Potatoes.html) That will save you a load of grief.

These potatoes came out quite stiff and lumpy, and just not at all what I was looking for. The chunks didn’t squish well, what did squish seemed a bit extra watery and, worst of all, they didn’t take up any extra milk or butter.

So you’ll be a bit surprised to hear this might be my default method for making mashed potatoes from here on out. At least in the winter time.

If you go to the above link, and read about the baking process, you’ll see that I’m pretty sure I just didn’t bake the potatoes long enough. That single mistake could result in all the cooking problems I had here.

However, the things that went right went really right. If I can get it to all come together, I think it might be easier than boiling potatoes to mash.

First, peeling a baked potato is a lot easier than peeling a raw potato, it turns out. I never realized that before. But it’s kind of like when they say to blanch a tomato or a peach to peel it; cooking it like this allows the skin to just peel off with no fuss.

On top of that, this can cook with a lot less attention than boiling. When I boil potatoes, it’s nearly inevitable that I will boil the water over, which ends in a starchy mess. Plus, frankly, draining the water is kind of a pain.

Furthermore, I think that it would be easier to plan all my mashed potatoes ahead if I did this. Bake the day before, refrigerate, and mash the next day. Sounds like a recipe for easier mashed potatoes that can also be fresher. I really like that.

h3. Consumption

Despite all their flaws, these were still quite good. As Bill said that day, it’s potatoes, butter and milk. It simply can’t be bad.

Yes, they were lumpy. However, we managed to avoid them being soupy as we reheated them. We actually prepared them the night before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, we started to reheat them in the slow-cooker on low, covered, about 3 hours before dinner was supposed to occur (more on that later). About a half an hour to an hour before dinner actually occurred, we took the cover off and bumped the heat to high. This drove off some of the extra water, and allowed us to have warm & delicious potatoes on time.

All in all, they were enjoyable. However, the were NOT so good that we chose to save them for future shepard’s pies. Once we try again, maybe they will be.