After a long, exhausting day, especially during the cold winter months, the only thing getting us through the miserable, damp commute is the image of a warm, satisfying, hearty meal. Of course, if you’re already super tired and fed up with the world, the thought of being on your feet for ages, trying to put together a perfectly executed feast might not be a realistic dream. So how can you cook something indulgent and satisfying, but without it turning into too much of a mission.
Enter our trusty friends, the potatoes. Mashed potatoes are maybe the best form of potato there is and while lots of people choose to get super fancy with the preparation of this gorgeous carb fest, we’re here to tell you that this is one dish where simplicity does not sacrifice flavour.
Milk? Cream? Nope. Believe it or not, you can make gloriously rich and creamy mashed potatoes without the need for any extra dairy hoopla. You only need two ingredients: potatoes and salted butter (or plant-based substitute if you’re vegan, it works just as well)! Are those murmurs of doubt? Well check out this how-to and you’ll be proved deliciously wrong.
Baking potatoes are an ideal choice to keep the preparation super simple. One baking potato is the ideal portion per person, so whether you’re cooking for yourself or the whole family, you’ll want one potato per head. Plus the fewer and larger the potatoes, the quicker and easier it is to peel. Of course, if you have a particular favourite potato type, use whatever you fancy. Dice them up into approximately 1-2 inch pieces, and pop some water (add a wee bit of salt) into the pan. You’ll want to make sure the potatoes are totally submerged in the water.
Put the pan onto a medium heat and put the potatoes straight into the hot water – don’t wait for it to boil first, you’ll want the water and spuds to heat up gradually. Keep the potatoes on the heat for around 25mins – perfect amount of time to sit on your bum and watch an episode of a sitcom, maybe sneak a mini snack while you wait. Do keep an eye on the water though, you don’t want it to boil too much or spill over, so lower the heat a bit if necessary – you want something between a simmer and a full-on boil. Get your butter out of the fridge while you wait so it can soften up for easier knifing later.
Give your ‘taters a poke with a fork – if it goes in nice and smoothly, you’re ready for phase 2. If not, give the potatoes a few more minutes until they’re nice and crumbly. Drain the water, put the potatoes back in the pan and lower the heat to the lowest setting you have. Mash up your potatoes until they look like fluffy clouds, but don’t overdo it. Now, it’s time to add the butter. Hopefully, by now it’s nice and supple – add a little bit at a time. Cut maybe a half cm sliver, let it melt over the hot potatoes and then mash it in. Keep adding butter gradually until your mash reaches a consistency you’re happy with.
We’re using salted butter so in theory, your mash shouldn’t need any extra salt, but obviously, that’s for everyone to decide for themselves, so have a taste and see if it needs extra. And that’s literally it! Apart from peeling the potatoes, you sat and relaxed for 25mins and then just mushed in some butter. Easy, peasy and absolutely delicious!