Christmas Easy: Perfect Mashed Potato
This is now my standard all-time mashed potato recipe. To make a low-fat version, replace the butter, milk and crème fraîche with 5 oz (150 g) of Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese) and 2-3 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk.
|2 lb (900 g) Desirée or King Edward potatoes|
|2 oz (50 g) butter|
|4 tablespoons whole milk|
|2 level tablespoons crème fraîche|
|salt and freshly milled black pepper|
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Use a potato peeler to pare off the potato skins as thinly as possible, then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks – not too small; if they are large, quarter them, and if they are small, halve them. Put the potato chunks in a steamer fitted over a large pan of boiling water, sprinkle the salt all over them, put a lid on and steam the potatoes until they are absolutely tender – they should take 20-25 minutes. The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part: they should not be hard in the centre, and you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps.When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the steamer, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan and cover with a clean tea cloth for about 4 minutes to absorb some of the steam, then add the butter, milk and crème fraîche. When you first go in with the whisk, use a slow speed to break the potatoes up, then increase it to high and whip them up to a smooth, creamy, fluffy mass. Taste and, if they need it, season.
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