Serves 6 to 8
You can make these mashed potatoes up to one day ahead. Reheat at 350 degrees in a foil-covered baking dish for 10 to 20 minutes.
3 pounds medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 & ½ cups whole milk, half-and-half or heavy cream, warmed
Freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by two inches. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender - about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes thoroughly and return to pot.
Over low heat, mash potatoes, using a fork or potato masher, until potatoes reach your desired texture.
Over low heat, add the butter and warm milk to the potatoes and continue to stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Plan on around ½ pound of potatoes per person for your holiday feast – or any feast, for that matter.
Mashed Root Medley: Replace half of the potatoes in the above recipe with an equal amount of turnips. Throw a few peeled and chunked carrots in the mix for good measure.
Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Replace milk with an equal part buttermilk. Right before serving, stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives into heated mashed potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese: Prepare potatoes as above, stirring in 4 ounces fresh goat cheese and ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions.
Browned Butter and Hazelnut Mashed Potatoes: While potatoes are cooking, cook 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. And ½ cup butter and cook, stirring frequently, until butter is golden brown and flecked with brown bits and hazelnuts are dark brown – about 5 minutes. Stir half of the hazelnut mixture into potatoes, and serve the rest in a bowl for guests to spoon over the top.