Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving Mashed Potato Secret

This will be a quiet country Thanksgiving for the Logue/Hautman household. We will be enjoying our feast in Stockholm, Wisconsin with my brother Bob and Mary’s sister Dodie (who are married to each other), our new Stockholm neighbors Lisa and Carlos, and friends Tom and Lynn. Bob is cooking elk; I’m cooking a small turkey and making the mashed potatoes. We are using two kitchens. Everyone is contributing something to eat. Everyone is bringing wine. There will be no vegans.

Speaking of mashed potatoes, I have a "secret" technique for you. I thought I invented this several years ago, but I have since learned that it is an old technique of (possibly) French origin.

The usual additions to mashed potatoes are butter and milk. I throw in a few egg yolks as well. Properly deployed, egg yolks can transform your mashed potatoes from “Yummy” to “Oh. My. God.” Here’s how you do it:

Potatoes for eight.
Say you are making mashed potatoes for eight adults. You peel and cook as many potatoes as you think they can eat (I like a combination of russets and Yukon golds), then increase the amount by 50%. There is no excuse for running out of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, and if you find yourself with leftovers, so much the better.

When the potatoes are done (overcooking is better than undercooking in this case), drain them, saving some of the cooking water, and mash them well. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Soften one stick of butter* (1/4 lb). Don’t melt it, just make sure it is a soft as it would be sitting out on a warm summer day—droopy, but not liquefied.

Mix three or four egg yolks into the butter with a whisk, then whisk in some warm (not hot) milk—say half a cup. Stir the mixture into the mashed potatoes. Don't go nuts with the stirring, just mix it with a rubber spatula until the color is homogenous. If they seem too stiff and dry, add a bit of the cooking water you saved.

Serve with giblet gravy made from the fresh $130 Narragansett heritage turkey you had FedExed in last week. (You didn't forget to reserve your heritage turkey last July, did you? Yeah, me too. I got my non-heritage bird at Costco.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

*If you are using salted butter, go easy when you salt the potatoes.

1 comment:

Pat Carlson said...

Thanks, Pete! I'm forwarding this immediately to our designated mashed potato queen. (She does them for most of our holiday orphan feasts at St Sophia.) Lisa and Carlos told us they are very excited at the prospect of an American thanksgiving dinner. And I am sure they will not be disappointed (non-heritage turkey notwithstanding).