Sometimes in life, the things that should be the simplest turn out to be the most difficult. For me, this applies while trying to make homemade mashed potatoes.
The weirdest thing about this is that I’m no stranger to the kitchen. In fact, I love cooking, and I’m always preparing meals for my friends and family. But when it’s time to make that beloved savory side, I fail, every single time.
Since temperatures outside are dropping, and mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food, we thought it was an ideal time to turn to a pro. The mashed potatoes at the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks are as creamy and dreamy as they come, so we asked Executive Chef Robert Stricklin for a few tips on how to successfuly whip up this much beloved side dish.
“Russet potatoes have a mild earthy texture and are light and fluffy,” Stricklin says. “They are high-starch potatoes. When they’re cooked, their cell structure opens up and allows them to soak up milk, butter and air. Russets are ideal for mashing.”
If you’re a fan of mashed potatoes with a little consistency, reach for the white variety. “These potatoes are medium in starch and slightly sweet with thin skins, so they are ideal for mashing with the skin on,” Stricklin says. And if you have the same problem that I have—your mashed potatoes turn out gummy—monitor your mixing. “The cells rupture during the mashing process and release more starch,” Stricklin says. “As more cells become ruptured, the mashed potatoes become gummier. For the best results with plain mashed potatoes, I would use a potato ricer to mash them.”
Next time you tie on your apron and prepare this savory staple, take the advice of a pro. Chef Stricklin shared a tried-and-true mashed potato recipe (below), and we shared three tasty variations, including his family’s favorite: Swiss-style mashed potatoes.