I may lose my foodie card today, because I have to tell you that there is one food I have yet to master on a consistent basis – and that is mashed potatoes.
Most of the time when I make mashed potatoes, they are just ok. They aren’t terrible, but they don’t knock your socks off either. Sometimes I make mashed potatoes and they are pretty damn good. But for whatever reason, no matter how hard I try, I can never quite duplicate those results. Mashed potatoes are my forever work in progress. But there IS one potato dish that I can make consistently well, no matter what, and that’s these Parmesan smashed potatoes.
I don’t even remember where this recipe came from, but every single time I make it, they come out perfectly. And since we are calling them “smashed”, I don’t have to worry about that perfect, chunkless, silky-smooth consistency that characterizes mashed potatoes. Nope. Chunks are okay in smashed potatoes. Totes ok.
But I must share a little tip with you that I learned the hard way…. DO NOT USE A HAND MIXER TO MAKE THESE.
Why? Well for one, you’re not making mashed potatoes, remember – you’re making smashed potatoes. So you must smash them. With a potato smasher. A hand-held (s)masher like this one. No hand-mixers. Nothing that you’re plugging into the wall. You’re doing this by hand. It’ll be your arm workout for the day. You get to eat an extra helping of them because you’ll be in such a carb deficit after smashing these by hand.
Ok you get it right? No hand-mixers. Oh and why #2 is because you are never ever ever EVER supposed to use hand-mixers on red potatoes. I can’t explain it scientifically but I can say from experience that a hand-mixer will ruin red potatoes. If you feel like eating potatoes of a matte, soupy, gluey, porridge-like consistency, then have at it, but I highly recommend against it. It’s pretty gross. Scientifically, it has something to do with the wax content or something. Idk. I don’t care. Google it if you care. But you shouldn’t, because all you have to do is not use a hand-mixer and you’ll have good potatoes, which is what you really care about right now. Get it? Got it? Good.
If you follow the directions and proportions exactly, these potatoes will turn out creamy, dreamy, silky, sweet, and delicious. Good luck friends!
3 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Boil potatoes until tender and drain. I know this is a generic direction, but I have found over the years that I can never nail down a time limit for boiling potatoes. I rely on the fork test for doneness – draw a large chunk of potato out of the water with a large spoon, and stab the potato in the center with a fork, and lift it off the spoon. If the potato slides off the fork easily, they are done. If the potato sticks to the fork, it needs more time. Just babysit them, or rely on someone else’s directions for how long to boil potatoes. I can’t tell you how many recipes I see “boil 10-12 minutes and drain”, and there are times when 10 minutes is too long and there are times when 12 minutes is not enough. Thus, I rely on the fork test. Ok end rant and sorry.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat until butter melts. Return potatoes to the pot, then pour in half of the butter/milk mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Smash with a hand masher. If needed, add the rest of the butter/milk mixture to get the potatoes moist enough, and mash again. Taste for seasonings, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Mash until you’ve reached your desired consistency (more chunks or less chunks, up to you).
3. Add sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Fold in with a spatula, or use your masher to mix them in well. Taste for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.